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Watch Out For Fraud!

Watch out for fraud, it’s everywhere and the explosion of the Internet and social media has facilitated a plethora of schemes that will trick you into falling as prey.

What are these fraudsters going after?

  • Your money.
  • Your Personally Identifiable Information. (Known as PII – social security number, addresses, phone number, bank account numbers, credit card information, home title information, passwords… wow this is getting bad!)
  • Email contact lists – Watch out for Phishing – phony emails asking for private information.

Can you ID the common types of fraud?

Common Types / Red Flags / Protection Measures:

Common Types

  • Lottery (Promises of huge lottery winnings to claim)
  • IRS (False references to IRS inquiries for back taxes you do not really owe)
  • Inheritance (Come on you know if you have one of these life events, but be careful of the long lost relative suddenly showing up with a big bag of money from a lawyer)
  • Vacation rentals (Asking for upfront funds to improve properties, false references of course)
  • Work from home/Great career opportunity (A promise of getting very rich from an income source, maybe with a small upfront down payment – watch out!)
  • Check overpayment (Oops you overpaid, now send your PII.  Do not do it!)
  • Loans (Sign up for a loan lately, or has someone applied for a loan in your name and you need to get out of it for a fee – watch out!)
  • Online dating (Oh boy… be careful, you don’t know who is out there with bad intentions)
  • Social media (Unless you know who and what… be careful of contacts made in this media)
  • Lost/Stolen Credit or Debit cards (Make sure you know where your cards are and be careful where you buy)

Red Flags

  • The offer seems to good to be true.
  • Sense of urgency from scammers.
  • Upfront payments required, NOW!
  • Claiming to be overseas and need assistance now, need cash for travel home.
  • Multiple card entries that you did not purchase.
  • Unauthorized purchases, especially for same items at different locations.
  • Unsolicited phone authorization for a car advance.
  • IRS call saying they need payments for a judgement on you.  IRS will always contact you via mail to let you know status.
  • FBI call saying  you are going to be put in jail for non-payment of judgements.

Protection Measures

  • Block senders and phone numbers you know were phony.
  • Never share account information and you PII (discussed above).
  • Do not respond to offers that sound too good to pass on.
  • Government emails and website end in .gov, .mil, or fed.us.  Watch out for phony URL’s and source emails.
  • Avoid posting any of your PII.
  • Do not respond to anyone asking for cash to be sent that you do not know personally or can be trusted.
  • Do not share your PIN for accounts and credit/debit cards.

Be Careful Out There and Watch Out For Fraud!

Here is a source for alert notices to help you watch out for fraud.

Federal Trade Commission: Scam Alerts.  Click Here

Related Post: Credit Breach Precautions

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