No Such Thing as Free Money

ScamBy Russel M. Wilson

FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (Sept. 30, 2015) — Each year criminals invent new ways for stealing money from businesses and individuals. One of the most common methods is though getting victims to provide information in order to obtain something.

Here are a few examples out there today:

– Nigerian Scam: A wealthy foreigner who needs help moving millions of dollars from his homeland promises a hefty percentage of this fortune as a reward for assisting him.

– Foreign Lottery Scam: Announcements inform recipients that they’ve won large sums of money in foreign lotteries

– Secret Shopper Scam: Advertisers seek applicants for paid positions as ‘secret’ or ‘mystery’ shoppers

– Work-at-Home Scam: Advertisers offer kits that enable home workers to make money posting links on the Internet

– Family Member in Distress Scam: Scammers impersonate distressed family members in desperate need of money

– National Disaster Relief Scam: Scammers impersonate organizations designed to bring relief

– Go Fund Me sites: Scammers solicit money for various tragedies, illnesses, conditions, and life events

These are just a handful of examples, but be aware there are countless versions out there. Most importantly, you should never provide any personal information to anyone over the phone or in person unless you are 110% certain of who it is. You should also always ask yourself “does the transaction make sense?”

Identity theft and scams cost losses of more than $190 billion annually to banks, insurance companies, businesses and individuals. If you are asked to provide information over the phone, ask for a call back number so you can verify the institution in question. If someone asks you to cash a check for them, remember you are responsible for the repercussions if you proceed. If you suspect a scam, then you should not follow through with any transaction. Report all suspicious incidents to law enforcement immediately.

Finally, to be sure your credit has not been tampered with, be sure request a free copy of your credit report each year by visiting www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/get-my-free-credit-report.

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