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Have you ever received a phone call and wondered if it might be fraud? For instance, someone claiming to be a representative with Microsoft saying your computer has viruses? Or maybe, a call from the IRS saying you owe them money and if you don’t pay you will be arrested? Have you recently received an email or letter saying that you are the lucky winner of a lottery?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are not alone. The Federal Trade Commission reports that criminals are using clever schemes to defraud millions of people each year. These schemes often combine a variety of techniques to get people to send money or give out their personal information. Criminals are using a variety of methods such as phone calls and emails, along with the use of sophisticated technology, all in an attempt to obtain your private personal information. They then use that information to commit fraud. Callers may claim to work for a company you trust, or claim to be calling on behalf of a loved one. People need to remain vigilant to protect themselves. Anyone receiving calls or emails should never give out their personnel information to anyone over the internet or phone. Your Bank will NOT call you and ask for this type of information! If there is any doubt as to the legitimacy of the phone call or e-mail, you should verify the validity of the call by contacting the business using a publicly listed phone number.*
If you find you are the target of one of these scams, the scammer is counting on you to keep the information to yourself. It is important to tell someone. Whether you decide to report the incident to law enforcement or a federal agency such as IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) you should still share with others to get the word out. So, share your story with your friends and family who will then share with their friends and families. The more we share, the more aware we will all be.
Check out these government websites for more information:
Report an internet crime here: www.ic3.gov/default.aspx