Category Archives: Fraud

Follow our blog to discover how fraud and scams can affect consumers, and what you can do to defend yourself and your finances.

Worried About Identity Theft After Black Friday? Here Is How to Protect Yourself

Black Friday is almost here. Millions of people across the country will cram into stores to shop for the best deals. However, you should be aware that criminals take advantage of this shopping holiday to commit widespread identity theft. You may even remember the massive Black Friday data breach that occurred at Target stores in 2013. Hackers stole credit and debit card information from 40 million Target shoppers. Identity theft can destroy your finances. Your credit scores could suffer. You may be unable to access new credit until the issue is resolved. It could take months or even years to repair the damage. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself from identity theft. Monitor your credit reports You should be regularly monitoring the information on your credit reports to spot instances of identity theft. Warning signs can include unfamiliar accounts and credit inquiries on your reports. You…
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Are You an Easy Target for Phishing Scams During Tax Season?

Phishing is one of the most common types of IRS scams. Last year, the IRS reported a 400 percent increase in phishing scams during tax season. These scams involve sending tax filers fake emails to get them to reveal important personal information like Social Security numbers, birthdays or addresses. Emails may look and sound official. Some may look like they came from the IRS, or organizations like the Taxpayer Advocacy Panel. They may ask tax filers about topics related to refunds, filing status or confirming personal information. Fake emails often contain links to malicious websites. The emails may ask tax filers to update their e-file information, but will link to a fake and official looking website. These websites use scripts and hyperlinks that contain malware injections used to steal the information of tax filers. How Can You Avoid Phishing Scams? The IRS has several suggestions that can help filers avoid…
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Why You Should Be Wary of Debt Settlement Scams

A Central Florida “debt relief counselor” recently filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, listing more than $100 million in liabilities. The “counselor” became infamous for launching a debt relief law firm that was later shut down for fraud. An Alabama circuit judge called it “one of the largest debt settlement scams in the nation.” Earlier this year, the fraudster behind the scam received a $107 million judgment. He is now filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy to seek protection from the claim. How did the scam work? Thousands of people sought help from the fake debt relief law firm. Instead of paying creditors, the fraudulent firm kept most of the money. This firm offered legal services, but did nothing for customers. Debt relief scams are common. The Federal Trade Commission has warned consumers these companies target people with excessive debt, and promise to settle with creditors. Debt settlement scams offer to settle what…
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