NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Latest in Online Fraud

Latest in Online Fraud


Thanks to the growing popularity of social media sites such as Facebook, unsecured public Internet access points and online activities like shopping, buying and selling, dating and gaming online fraud is a going, growing business.  Without the proper precautions, your personal information can be used it to build a false identity.

Identity theft and fraud may be anything from someone taking out a credit card bearing your name to a more sophisticated thief walking into a bank and asking for a line of credit with your home as security. The Most Vulnerable Groups

Two age groups, those 18-30 and seniors are especially at risk for identity theft. The younger set is more likely to share personal information online, to share sensitive details like their pin number with friends and to lend their credit cards to their peers.

            Meanwhile seniors are at risk because they are most likely to keep their experiences with fraud secret from friends and family out of embarrassment.  Seniors are a favorite target of fraud scams – particularly fraudulent phone calls and emails designed to solicit personal and financial information.

            Tips for all ages to spot a fraudster include:

            - If it’s too good to be true, it probably is! Fraudsters are constantly trying new ways to get at your personal information.  A legitimate lottery or sweepstakes never charge fees to deliver a prize. Also keep in mind advertisements running on a social networking site are not necessarily credible or reliable.

            - Be wary of testimonials. When surfing online, have you ever visited a site offering a product or service and were impressed by the list of happy customers? Often testimonials can appear quite believable by using so-called “satisfied customers”, “celebrities”, or “experts”, but how do we verify those testimonials – often we can’t.

            - Just say no to credit card number requests.  If it’s a “free” trial offer then you should not be required to provide a credit card number. Keep your ATM pin code secret, don’t tell anyone and don’t write it down and then carry the reminder slip of paper in your wallet or purse.

            - Skip the pressure sales calls. Do not feel pressured into paying for a product or service because of threats that your credit score will be damaged.

            - Know who you are dealing with. Be wary of any unsolicited phone calls, emails, text messages or letters from unknown sources.

            - Once wired, is forever gone.   Keep in mind that wiring money is like sending cash—you have no protection against loss.

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