Identify theft is a growing problem. Many people across the country have become victims of this crime. Here are a few basic steps you should follow to avoid being a victim of Identity Theft:
If you become a victom of identity theft, do the following:
Contact the fraud departments of each of the three major credit bureaus to report the identity theft and request that the bureaus place a fraud alerts status in your file.
Technology has made it more convenient than ever to manage your finances. Services such as online banking, electronic bill payment, telephone banking and e-statements offer tremendous advantages over the previous time-consuming methods of working with your accounts.
However, along with the benefits of technology come a few cautions. Technology savvy thieves and scam artists have developed a handful of tricks designed to separate you from your money. While most fraud is still perpetrated using the same “low-tech” methods that have been used in the past, criminals are more frequently turning to “hi-tech” deceptions.
The best defense against these modern scammers is to keep yourself educated and alert. This guide contains a number of helpful hints that will allow you to receive all the benefits today’s technologies have to offer. without becoming one of a growing number of victims of the following scams:
Identity theft is a rapidly growing threat to your financial security. Nationwide, the number of reported cases is increasing at an alarming rate. A criminal who successfully steals your identity can wreak havoc on your finances and your good credit. Follow these basic steps to avoid becoming a victim:
—Mail your request to:
Annual Credit Report Request Service
PO Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281
Internet Phishing is the criminal practice of sending seemingly legitimate emails instructing you to click on a link in the message. This link directs you to a “spoofed” website of a company or financial institution you may have dealings with. These fraudulent websites are deceptive because they cleverly simulate official looking logos or financial symbols. At the website you will be asked to submit personal information such as your account numbers, passwords, or PINs. This information can then be used to commit a variety of crimes; from draining your accounts to obtaining credit cards in your name. What can you do to protect yourself?
Counterfeit checks that look like official cashier’s checks, money orders or teller’s checks are becoming easier for scammers to make using personal computers. These fraudulent checks are appearing with alarming frequency. Thieves know that people tend to think of official looking checks as a safe way to transact money, and they play on trusting people’s good will. Counterfeit check scams are often carried out in one of the following ways:
As in the case of the frequently appearing Nigerian Overpayment Scam, the payor is usually from a foreign country and the amount of the check received is typically more than the amount agreed upon. The payor will give an excuse as to why this excess amount was included and instruct you to return the overpayment to the payor as quickly as possible. The catch is, when you endorse and deposit or cash the check you become responsible for the funds; not the receiving bank and not the paying bank. You can’t assume that just because the bank has made the funds “available” that the check has cleared.
If the check is discovered to be a counterfeit weeks later, you may be asked to reimburse the bank the entire amount of the check.
The overpayment amount you already sent back to the scam artist will likely never be recovered!What steps should you take to defend yourself from this scheme?
Scammers and thieves are continually seeking ways to exploit technology for their purposes. We hope that this guide will prove helpful by alerting you to existing schemes and educating you on ways to identify and protect your finances from future ones.
If you think you may have been victimized, contact us immediately. We can provide the necessary resources and guidance to help you minimize your exposure to risk.
Homeland Security Safety Web Links
Lost or Stolen Debit Cards: 1-866-842-5208
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