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Stay Away from Scams
Running a scam or fraud is another time-tested method for identity thieves. They may contact you in person; by phone, traditional mail or email, or through the Internet to try to trick you into giving out personal information. Avoid scam artist ploys by following these tips:
- Stay aware of current scams. Watch or read the news. The nation's consumer protection agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), offers information and tips on current scams. Go to consumer.ftc.gov and click on Scam Alerts. For Internet scam updates, go to the Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov and click on the Alerts link.
- Before indulging personal information to anyone, know with whom you are dealing. Independently verify any information provided. Find the physical address and phone number of who contacted you by yourself. Don't trust email addresses given by unknown people. Search online for a company's name and website. Read through the site and read any online reviews of the business.
- Never reply to messages asking for personal information, whether the message was sent over the phone, or by email, text message or through an ad. Do not call phone numbers or click on links contained in these messages. You could be the target of phishing.
- Never send money or account information in reply to notices that you won a prize or lottery.
- Give only to established charities. Avoid pop-up charities that suddenly appear after disasters. Check a charity's trustworthiness at give.org, the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance site.
- Don't fall for pressure tactics. Never react quickly or impulsively to offers or requests.
- Be wary of "imposter" scams in which a scammer pretends to be someone close to you or an entity you're unlikely to question. The FTC reported a big increase in complaints about imposter scams in 2014. Fraudsters pretend to be family members, friends, love interests, government agencies, or companies, often try to get personal information.
To report a scam or fraud, contact:
- Your local police department and State Attorney General's Office
- The Federal Trade Commission at ftccomplaintassistant.gov or 1-887-FTC-HELP
- The Internet Crime Complaint Center (if Internet related) at ic3.gov
- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service (if mail related)
at postalinspectors.uspis.gov or 877-876-2455
The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force
website offers more information about where
else to report specific types of fraud activity.
Go to stopfraud.gov for more information.
Lost VISA Debit Card: 1-800-472-3272, then call us at 423-547-1200
Lost VISA Credit Card: 1-800-558-3424, then call us at 423-547-1200
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