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SCAMS, FRAUDS, and CONS

Please review this list of common scams that you should be AWARE of and AVOID.

Phishing

Identity thieves try to trick people into providing their Social Security numbers, financial account numbers, passwords, PIN numbers, and other personal information.  Typically, the victim will receive an official looking e-mail from a reputable company.  The recipient is told that there is a problem with their account and they must update or confirm their information.  In fact, the link in the e-mail directs the user to a bogus site which is designed to capture your personal information.

Defense:
Don't respond to e-mails requesting that you confirm your personal information.

ATM Card "Skimming" Scam

Some Automated Teller Machines are actually "skimmers" which collect your account number and PIN.   The thieves then use your information to withdraw money from your bank account.

Defense:
Only use ATM's located at legitimate financial institutions and avoid those found in "convenience stores" and gas stations.   Be careful though... even bank owned ATM's can be compromised!

Call Forwarding Scam

You may receive an automated message on your telephone that says you have won a prize or money. The message directs you to dial a 2-digit code preceded or followed by the * or # key (such as *79 or 72#), and then an 800 number to claim your prize. When you dial the number, you are not connected to anyone. What this procedure has done, though, is program your telephone to forward your calls to a long distance operator. Con artists can then call your number, be forwarded to the long-distance operator and place calls that are billed to your home telephone number.

Defense:
If you receive this type of call, simply hang up. If you receive this message on your answering machine, do not place this call. No legitimate sweepstakes or contest would likely contact you in this manner.

Know the numbers used for Call Forwarding from your local telephone company.

Additional scams, cons, etc. may be found at the following websites:

AT&T - Telephone related scams

Federal Citizen Information Center - U.S. Government website of Scams and Frauds

Federal Bureau of Investigation - Financial Crimes Section

U.S. Department of the Treasury - Discusses financial, securities, and investment scams



 
 

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Quote of the Day
"A good reputation is more valuable than money." - Syrus (Publilius Syrus)
Tip of the Day
If you receive pre-screened credit card offers in the mail, but don't shred them after you decide you don't want to accept the offer, identity thieves could retrieve the offers for their own use without your knowledge. Call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) to opt out of receiving these pre-screened credit card offers. The three major credit bureaus use the same toll-free number to let consumers choose to not receive pre-screened credit offers.
Today's Story
"My purse was stolen in December 1990. In February 1991, I started getting notices of bounced checks. About a year later, I received information that someone using my identity had defaulted on a number of lease agreements and bought a car. In 1997, I learned that someone had been working under my Social Security number for a number of years. A man had been arrested and used my SSN on his arrest sheet. There's a hit in the FBI computers for my SSN with a different name and gender. I can't get credit because of this situation. I was denied a mortgage loan, employment, credit cards, and medical care for my children. I've even had auto insurance denied, medical insurance and tuition assistance denied." - From a consumer complaint to the FTC, January 2, 2001
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