Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Scams and Fraud

Whether it be ice, hail, high winds or a low turn in the economy it’s “Scam Season.” Scammers can show up at your front door, call on the phone, drop into your mailbox, email you and may even approach you in the grocery store. They always have a deal, a prize or a service that seems too good to be true. Or they may have a hard luck story that pulls at your heartstrings. They take your trust, your money, your identity or property and disappear often leaving you in worse straits than you were before.

No one is totally immune to lure of a scammer. Below are links to information provided by organizations, agencies and websites on identifying and dealing with scams and fraud. Once we understand the game being played we can cut a scam off at the quick saving ourselves possible heartache down the road.

Consumer Topics A-Z
Information provided by the Kansas Attorney General on scams, unwanted calls, identity theft, online safety, charitable giving, check fraud, payday loans, pyramid schemes, credit card scams, chain letters, medical discount cards, online pharmacies, email scams, sweepstakes, lotteries, telemarketing, phone bills and calling cards.)

Identity Theft Repair Kit
(A document provided by Kansas Attorney General, Steve Six, on actions you can take if your personal identity is stolen. Identity theft is the highest “white collar” crime in the U.S.)

Consumer Complaint Process
(Information from the Kansas Attorney General’s Office on how to file a consumer complaint against a business)

Consumer Protection for Older Kansans
(Information from the Kansas Department on Aging covering identity theft, checking accounts and banking, buying on time, mail order, charitable contributions, door-to-door sales, home repair companies, warranty laws, funeral buying and utility bills)

Insurance Fraud
(Information from the Kansas Insurance Department on Insure U, Identity Theft Insurance, How to Fight Insurance Fraud, How to File a Complaint)

Common Fraud Schemes
(Helpful information from the Federal Bureau of Investigation on some common ploys used in fraud)

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
(Information on stopping unwanted faxes, identity theft, stopping dishonest telemarketers, credit card fraud, online safety and more)

Sedgwick County District Attorney's Office
(Information on Contest/Prize Scams, Charitable Solicitations, Home Repairs, Fair Debt Collection, Nigerian Scam, New Car, Telemarketing Fraud, Work at Home, Unordered Merchandise, Used Cars and Used Car-Warranty)

SHICK (Senior Health Insurance Counseling For Kansas) Program
(People who will help older Kansans with health insurance questions/problems)

Scam Victim Resources You Need to Know About, A-Z
(provided by FraudAid.org. Links to services around the world including the U.S.)

(Called the "Rumor Detectives" in a recent Readers Digest article, snopes.com researches and reports on worms, viruses, rumors, “facts” claimed in emails, etc… Have you received an email with a strange claim? Go to snopes.com and check it out. More often than not you’ll find something helpful there in dispelling myths, fraudulent statements and downright untruths)

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