NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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Avoiding Consumer Fraud

Avoiding Consumer Fraud

            In today’s world, consumer fraud scams are so sophisticated that anyone can find themselves the target or victim. Educating ourselves on how to protect our financial security is important in today’s fast paced consumer world.  An alert consumer needs to be able to recognize signs or signals of fraud.           

            When is it Fraud?  Fraud occurs when a seller of goods or services misrepresents the facts about the good or services offered and knowingly lies about the product or service. The intent of the seller of the goods or service is to deceive the victim and the victim believes the untruths. The victim also would have had to suffer damages by believing the misrepresentations.

            The good news about fraud is that you can take charge by becoming an alert and informed consumer.  Here are some basic tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of the most common forms of fraud:

-         Remember the first rule of being an alert consumer: If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

-         Do not yield to high-pressured salespeople by buying an item right now. Always take the time to investigate before you invest or buy, especially with larger purchases. Ask the seller to send information about the company in writing and verify it.

-         Ask for information about a company, price information and written estimates form door-to-door salespeople before doing business with them.    

-         Never give calling card, credit card of bank account number to stranger by telephone, Internet or mail, unless you initiated the order for goods or services.  Also check to make sure if the Internet site you are using is secure.  Look for the symbol of a lock on the home page of web site.

-         Avoid purchasing goods or services from people, companies or organizations you do now know.

-         Wait to sign any contract until you have taken the time to understand it.

-         Be skeptical about unsolicited sales call.  Register toll free by telephone for the “Do Not Call” list at (888) 383-1222 to reduce the number of unsolicited sales call.

-         Guard your Social security number vigorously.  Do not use as it an identifying number or password where others may see it.

-         If you cannot afford to lose the money you invest, do not invest in risky ventures.

-         Before contributing to charities you are unfamiliar with, check them out through the attorney general’s office.

-         Con artists look just like you and me.  Even if someone sounds like he or she is your friend, take the time to investigate an offer carefully.



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