National Consumer Protection Week is Here

Fraud & Security
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From romance scams to insurance fraud, the need to secure our personal information is at an all-time high. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission reported $10 billion in losses last year – up from $8.9 billion in 2022. Join us as we recognize National Consumer Protection week from March 3 – 9 and share the latest information on fraud, scams, and the best tips to avoid them.

Common Scams

  • Social media scams are becoming increasingly common. This includes fake profiles of you, your friends and family being made to scam others, as well as fake online stores selling counterfeit goods. Other times, bots will send a direct message to a large number of users at once with a link to a fake website so they can gain access to your account and/or device. 
  • Phone scams occur when your number is collected and shared among fraudsters on the dark web. The fraudster will usually call from a phone number outside of your immediate region and will try to sell you on a “car warranty”, “an issue with your computer”, or “debt management”.
  • Elderly scams are exactly what they sound like: scammers deliberately target our seniors, a very vulnerable group. This includes the classic grandparent scam, where an elderly person will receive a phone call from a family member asking them to send money so they can get out of a “dangerous situation” or “jail”. Other times, they’ll receive calls from the “Social Security Administration” or “the IRS”, despite these organizations only communicating via direct mail.
  • Text scams and email phishes are often sent unexpectedly and by a company - or individual - you may be familiar with. These can include “tracking update links” for a package you never ordered, or even an unexpected email from the “CEO” at your job with a suspicious request.

Tips and Best Practices

  • Never accept or interact with messages, phone calls, and links from accounts, emails and phone numbers that you don’t recognize. Delete the direct message, text and/or email, and be sure to report it as junk. The same goes for phone calls – let it go to voicemail, and delete and report/block the number if needed.
  • Make sure to avoid posting personal information on your social media feeds such as your job, license plate, and home address that can be easily stolen and used for fraud. Additionally, only purchase good from accounts that have a blue checkmark next to their username so you know it’s a legitimate company.
  • On social media, make sure that your privacy settings are updated so your account is only viewable to your followers, and that you can only accept direct messages from people that you follow and that follow you.
  • Remember that the IRS and Social Security Administration only communicate via direct mail. If you receive a call, text, or email from them, you’re likely interacting with a scammer. 
  • Grandparent scams are now becoming “parent” and “friend” scams with the help of AI voiceovers. If you receive a call like this, hang up and call that person or someone closest to them to verify that this is a legitimate emergency situation. Contact the police if needed as well.

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