Sunday, November 21, 2010

Avoiding Fraud Both Online and Off

With more consumers at this time of the year, Black Friday and Cyber-Monday approaching, it is a perfect time to remind your adult teens as well as yourself about the high risks of fraud and scams that exist.

Warning Signs:
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  • People, sales reps, online pressure: Anyone or anything that pressures you to act "right away," stop and think.  Do your due diligence - it could save you money and grief at the end.
  • Guarantees of success.  In life there are two main guarantees: Death and taxes.  After that - use caution.
  • Requires an upfront investment, even if it is for a free nothing.  Run, and don't look back.  A perfect example is when an adult will approach a vulunerable teen and tell them they have the look of a model - but they need a portfolio.  Unless they are providing you the necessary means to get one (which could be nearly $1000.00 or more), don't believe it.  If an honest modeling agency wants you - they will pay to get your portfolio completed.
  • Buyers want to overpay you for an item and have you send them the difference.
  • Doesn't have the look or the feel of a real business.
  • Something just doesn't seem or feel right.  Your gut is telling you to run.
Play it Safe:
  • Never click on a link inside an email to visit a website.  Type the address into your brower instead.
  • It's easy for a business to look legitimate online.  If you have doubts, verify the company with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Only 2% of reported identity theft occurs through the mail. Report online fraud to the Federal Trade Commission at
  • Retain your receipts, statements, and packing slips.  Review them for accuracy.
  • Shred confidential documents instead of simply discarding them in the trash.
The FTC, the nation's consumer protection agency, works hard to prevent fraud and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid it.  To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit or call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP.

Safety matters!

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