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Federal Trade Commission: 10 Ways to Avoid Fraud

Wiring money is like sending cash: once it’s gone, you can’t get it back.

Released as an advisory by the Federal Trade Commission

To see news release, please click here

There are more thn 10 million people that are victims of scams every year. Scam artists defraud people across the globe by using phone, email, postal mail and the Internet to trick you into sending money or revealing personal information.

While con artists can be clever, many can be stopped by knowledgeable consumers. Here are 10 steps from the Federal Trade Commission that you can take to stop a scam.

1. Wiring money is like sending cash: once it’s gone, you can’t get it back. Don’t wire money to strangers, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to someone who claims to be a relative in an emergency (and wants to keep the request a secret).

2. Do not send money to someone you don’t know, including online merchants you’ve never heard of, or an online love interest who asks for money or favors. Do business with sites you know and trust. Don’t send cash, and don’t use a wire transfer service.

3. Do not respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial information, whether they arrive by email, phone, text message or an ad, no matter how professional they seem. For example, Associated Bank will never ask for your account or personal information by email.

4. Do not play a foreign lottery. First, it’s illegal to play them. Second, you’ll be asked to pay “taxes,” “fees,” or “customs duties” to collect your prize. If you send money, you won’t get it back, regardless of promises.

5. Do not agree to deposit a check from someone you don’t know, then wire money back, no matter how convincing the story. If you deposit a check that turns out to be fake, you are responsible to pay back the bank.

6. Read your bills and monthly statements regularly, on paper and online. Scammers steal account information, then run up charges or commit crimes in your name.

7. After a natural disaster or other crisis, donate to established charities rather than one that seems to have sprung up overnight. Visit www.ftc.gov/charityfraud to learn more.

8. Talk to your doctor before buying health products or receiving medical treatments. Buy prescription drugs only from licensed U.S. pharmacies; otherwise you could receive products that are fake, expired, mislabeled and possibly dangerous. Visit www.ftc.gov/health

9. Remember there’s no such thing as a sure thing.
When you hear pitches that insist you act now, promise big profits and little or no financial risk, or demand that you send cash immediately, report them to Associated Bank or the FTC.

10. Know where an offer comes from and who you’re dealing with, including their physical address and phone number. Do an Internet search for the company name and website and any negative reviews. Check the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org

Bonus Tip: Visit www.OnGuardOnline.gov to learn how to avoid internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.

Virginia Johnson October 28, 2012 at 11:07 PM
This was a great article but just how do we sell a diamond ring or a car on Craigs List? Cash only like in Downey doesn't seem the way to go. Cashiers Checks can be Bogus, Personal Checks can be Bogus. I hope the PATCH can follow up on people trying to sell high end merchandise without having to ask for cash. One person sold something and the bank said the check was good but 3 days later it was bad so they lost their dining room set and the money and the bank didn't have to claim responsibility.
TVOR November 01, 2012 at 05:08 PM
If you make a sale on Craigslist, have the buyer take you to their bank and witness the bank issueing a cashier's check or simply have them give you cash. If they are not willing to do that then find another buyer. People have been sent to jail for passing bad checks they were given by strangers who were out to rip them off.

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