Scams & Fraud

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Holiday shopping, like most shopping these days, has moved online, and that poses unique risks, according to a new AARP survey. More than 75% of U.S. consumers reported that they have experienced some kind of fraud and a similar share of consumers failed a 9-question safe shopping quiz.
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Scams aren’t always high tech – some of the most common are about as old fashioned as they come. In 2021 there were 33,000 reports of incidents involving mail carrier robberies and mail theft, up from 24,000 in 2019, according to the US Postal Inspectors (USPIS). What were the thieves looking for? Personal checks that can be washed and re-written to anyone for any amount.
Online shopping
The holiday deals have already begun, but buyer beware –  not all of those great deals you see online are legit. Because if the online shopping season has started it means that online scam season has officially begun too.
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Computer viruses are scary. Tech support scammers exploit that fear, claiming your computer or mobile device is dangerously ill and needs an immediate, costly cure. These scams start with an unsolicited phone call or a pop-up warning on your device, claiming to be from Microsoft, Norton, or other related company, warning of grave problems. The goal is to persuade you to allow them to remotely connect with your device and then convince you they find something terrible. What they are really doing could involve installing malware to harvest personal information and logins or convincing you to pay for expensive repair and protection (fake and fake).
Smiling WWII and Korean War USA Military Veteran
Veterans, active duty and military families are nearly 40% more likely than the general population to lose money to scams and fraud. According, to the Federal Trade Commission, reported fraud attacks against our nation’s heroes and their families jumped 69 percent from 2020 to 2021.   
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It’s open enrollment season, which also means it’s Medicare fraud season. Eligible beneficiaries have until December 7 to shop for the best deal for their health care dollar. Unfortunately, some of the deals offered won’t be deals at all.
Student and teacher reviewing student loan applications
There has been a lot of news recently about student loans. Some are being forgiven, some payments are being paused and lots of borrowers are trying to figure out where they fall. This is the type of situation that criminal scammers are ready to pounce on.
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We Americans are a giving people. In 2020, in the midst of a pandemic that crippled the economy, we still contributed nearly half a trillion dollars, according to the Giving USA Foundation. Unfortunately, some of those funds went to criminal scammers, who capitalize on donors’ goodwill to line their pockets.
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Equipping the Vulnerable to Protect Themselves
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month – a great time to remind ourselves just how much of our lives happen online and what threats exist there. Any device that stores information or is connected to the internet can be a way for cybercriminals to gain access to your information systems – or, in some cases, use your devices to attack someone else.
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