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Strategies of Defense against Fraud

 

As scams continue to evolve on and offline, protecting your personal information has become more important than ever.  With the evolution of IT (Information Technology), critical data is being passed back and forth through various computers and networks, often left unprotected and exposed to an array of exploits.  Because of this, it is very imperative to carefully manage your transactions and wisely mange your personal data.   

Since these crimes present themselves in many different variations, your front line of defense should always include awareness.  This can be done by familiarizing yourself with how scam artists operate. 

This article will detail some of the most popular types of fraud, how they are being carried out, and what can be done to protect yourself.                    

Common Scams Types of Scams and Fraud

- Prize winning scams

- Fake lottery drawings

- Work-at-home scams

- Mystery shopping scams

- Email fraud

- Auto insurance fraud

- Medical Insurance fraud

- Welfare fraud

- Homeowners' insurance fraud

- Identity theft

 

How Fraud May Be Committed

- Phishing

- Pharming

- Spyware

- Counterfeit checks

- Improper cost allocation

- Misuse of government contracts

 

10 Tips for Protecting Your Information

1.  Never give away personal or financial details via telephone or email unless you initiated the contact.

2.  Never open the attachment of an unsolicited email message.

3.  Properly discard old bank statements, invoices and credit approvals.  These items should be destroyed in a cross-cut shredder.

4.  Never leave your Social Security card or driver's license in the possession of a stranger.

5.  Remain cautious of potential criminals when making transactions in public.

6.  Conduct a thorough background check on any company or charity you plan to make a donation to. 

7.  Be sure to entirely delete the hard drive on any computer you plan to discard or donate. 

8.  Practice extreme caution when browsing and making purchases on the internet

9.  Prevent remote access to your computer by implementing quality firewall hardware or software. 

10.  Protect your computer with anti-virus, spyware and spam software. 

 

Carefully Review Your Credit Report

In many instances, most consumers will only check their credit report when the time comes to apply for an automobile loan or a home mortgage.  Sadly, this is also a time when people often discover major discrepancies; those that may indicate signs of fraud or worse, identity theft.  It is very important that you review your credit report on a routine basis.  By doing this, you can ensure that all of your accounts are current when the time comes to put your good credit to use. 

If you do happen to notice errors on your credit report, immediately take note of the discrepancies, build your case and contact the appropriate companies.

Reporting Suspicious Activity

If you suspect that your checks, credit or debit card have been compromised, lost or stolen, you should report those suspicions to your local police department.  Be sure to take note of the items in question, relative dates and amounts of the losses endured.  These are important factors when it comes to making your case.  Contact all of the companies and financial institutions related to the debt and notify them of your situation.  Fully recovering from fraud is often a grueling task so the sooner you start, the better.

Additionally, you can file complaints, learn more about the latest scams and how to defend against fraud by visiting the online home of the United States FTC (Federal Trade Commission): www.ftc.gov

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Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.