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Money Matters Blog

Monday, July 25, 2011

Fraud PART 1– Recognizing Identity Theft and Common Scams

With over 9 million Americans estimated to fall victim every year, identity theft is the most common crime reported to the Federal Trade Commission.  Identity theft is the act of stealing your good name to commit fraud, and one of the most potent defenses against it is recognizing and understanding common identity theft scams so you can protect yourself.  Here are a few of the most common scams.

1.  Lottery/raffle winner or tax refund – These scams start with an email that says you won a large sum of money or are entitled to a tax refund, but in order to claim it you need to go to a website or call a toll free number.  You will be asked to enter your social security number or bank account and passwords so they can send you the money.  Instead of making a deposit-- you guessed it – they empty your account or use your ID to open credit accounts.

2.  There is something wrong with your account - These calls or emails say they are calling from your credit card company or bank and have noticed excessive activity on your account.  They ask you to provide your account number, security codes and/or passwords to verify the transactions.  By doing this you are giving them access to your credit.  Sometimes they send you to a website that looks just like your bank’s site, but the bogus site is a front to collect your personal data.
Art Beard, Information Technology 
Department Manager
3.  The Nigerian scam–This scam has been around for nearly a decade and has spawned a number of variations. You receive an email from a stranger asking for your help to get a large sum of money out of their country. In return for your assistance, the sender will share part of the money with you. The aim, of course, is to get access to either your bank account or your personal information so the thieves can open accounts in your name.
No legitimate company will ask you for your personal data – Think about it, if they are truly a company you deal with, they already have your information on file.  If a caller claims to have your credit card number and reads it back to you but it’s wrong – hang up.  The thief is trying to trick you into correcting their mistake and divulging information.

“The best thing to do is check your accounts online regularly and review your credit report for errors at least once a year,” According to Art Beard, Information Technology Department Manager at Community Financial. “Due diligence is the best way to keep your good name.”

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to contact Community Financial at (877) 937-2328. Next week we’ll discuss what to do if you fall victim to ID theft.

Posted by: Community Financial
Community Financial Members Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit, full-service financial institution owned and governed by its membership.

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