Telemarketing Fraud & Internet Scams
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The number of fraud victims increased in 2005, as reported in a 2006 National Consumers League (NCL) Bulletin. There has been an increase in internet fraud regarding wire transfers of money and in internet scams such as Nigerian money offers. The average loss to telemarketing fraud rose from $1,974 in 2004 to $2,892 last year and internet fraud more then doubled, from an average of $895 in 2004 to $1,917 in 2005. The number of telemarketing scams reported rose by 39 percent, internet fraud reports by 12 percent. An internet scam on the rise is bogus offers of scholarships and grants from the government. To protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud:
- Shred documents with personal information before you discard them.
- Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet or write your Social Security number on a check. Give it out only if absolutely necessary or ask to use another form of identification.
- Don't give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or on the internet unless you know the source or if you generate the call or request.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails; instead, type in a web address you know. Use firewalls, anti-spyware, and anti-virus software to protect your home computer; keep them up-to-date. Visit OnGuardOnline.gov for more information.
- Don't use an obvious password like your birth date, your mother's maiden name, or the last four digits of your Social Security number.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home, especially if you have roommates, employ outside help, or are having work done in your house.
Source: The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) Family Economics News - June 2006.