If You Think It's a Scam, It's a Scam.

Protect You and Your Family From Fraud.

If you get a phone call, letter or an email that you won a foreign lottery or someone you don’t know wants to send you a check, it is a scam. Cons artists work on volume and technology allows criminals to target millions of Americans and find out a tremendous amount of information about their victims. It cost criminals nearly nothing to send millions of emails and make tens of thousands of phone calls.

If you get a call, e-mail, or letter that you won a prize and all you need to do is mail or wire a few dollars to collect your prize or winning, this is what is recommended you do:

  1. Hang up the phone or don’t open the email. (Doing so is smart, not rude). Don’t give anyone any personal information over the phone or through e-mail if the offer sounds too good to be true.

  2. Never send or wire money to claim a “prize.”

  3. Do not open links in suspicious emails (and make sure you have Virus Protection)

Here are 5 simple steps you can take to protect your identity and money:

  1. Check credit reports.

  2. Use difficult to crack Passwords online (and not the same one for every account). Use a password app like, 1Password or LastPass.

  3. Use a credit card, not a debit card for purchases. Unlike with a debit card, with a credit card money is not immediately taken out of your account and it is easier to cancel purchases criminals have made with your stolen card.

  4.  Buy and use a Paper Shredder for your confidential documents.

  5. Learn to recognize fraudulent offers and trust your gut. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

We also recommend that you monitor your account for incidents of fraud and identify theft, including regularly reviewing your account statements and monitoring free credit reports. You can periodically obtain credit reports from each nationwide credit reporting agency. Under federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies. You may obtain a free copy of your credit report by going to www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling (877) 322-8228. You may contact the nationwide credit reporting agencies at:

Equifax                                                Exprerian                              TransUnion
P.O. Box 740241                             P.O. Box 9532                      P.O. Box 6790
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241            Allen, TX 75013                  Fullerton, CA 92834

(800) 525-6285                              (888) 397-3742                  (800) 680-7289

www.equifax.com                          www.experian.com           www.transunion.com

If you discover any suspicious or unusual activity on your account or suspect identity theft or fraud, you should report it immediately to:

  1. Report fraud to the authorities.

  2. Close the affected account.

  3. Notify your bank.

  4. Change your online passwords.

  5. Place a fraud alert on your credit report. There are three nationwide credit agency. As soon as that agency processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other two agencies.

  6. Notify any business involved such as a wire transfer service, phone company, etc.

To learn more, you can go to the FTC’s website, at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or call the FTC at (877) IDTHEFT (438-4338).


  1. Black Friday 2013 Tips & Tricks to Find the Best Deal. | Cleveland Moms Rock - November 21, 2013

    […] 6. Cash VS. Credit Cards. There are a few advantages of using cash, such as, you avoid paying the interest that will accrue if you can’t pay off the balance in full on a credit card, and it can help you stay within your budget to avoid holiday debt. The benefits of using a credit card are that it is sometimes easier to return items. Some credit cards also extend the manufacturer’s warranty and offer additional buyer’s protection. If you are shopping online, make sure that you use a Credit Card and not a Debit Card in case your card number gets stolen. It is much easier to dispute a Credit Card charge than it is to try to get funds back into your checking account. For more tips on protecting your identity, check out our post Protect Your Family From Fraud.  […]

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