Fraud Prevention

Don't Become a Victim

The old adage that "if it's too good to be true it probably is" applies today more than ever. There has been a proliferation of scams to defraud people of their money, identity, or both. Criminals use the mail service, phones, and increasingly the Internet, to perpetrate a wide variety of frauds.

To help you become more informed and better prepared we're providing you with some helpful tips.

What is fraud?

Some of the most common terms you'll encounter are:

  • Identity theft: Identity theft occurs when your personal information (anything from bank account numbers to your name and address) is stolen and the thief is able to use your information to commit fraud or theft, potentially damaging your credit record and good name in the process.
  • Fraud: Simply put, fraud is an intentional misrepresentation or concealment of information in order to deceive or mislead. The ultimate goal of the perpetrator is to get your money through illegal means. Unfortunately there are countless types of fraud and new methods are being devised every day.
  • Phishing: This relatively new type of online scam exploits both e-mail and the internet. By using a combination of spam e-mails and fake representations of legitimate corporate websites (a bank, credit card company, internet provider, etc.), the "phisher" is able to gain access to your most critical financial information (account numbers, PIN numbers, etc.).

    Phony e-mails are often urgent in nature, asking you to update or validate your information. Some even pretend to be protecting you against fraud or invoke national security as a way of deceiving you.

How does it happen?

Some of the most common methods of fraud involve the following:

  • Someone offers to pay you extra for your time and trouble
  • Someone pays you for a sold item for more than the asking price then asks that you send or wire extra funds elsewhere
  • Someone gives you a Cashiers' Check and you do not know the person
  • You are asked to send money before you can collect a prize or lottery winnings

How can I avoid it?

  • DO NOT share your personal information with anyone that e-mails or calls you
  • Make sure you know "who" and "why" before giving out your personal information
  • Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers
  • Watch for missing mail (credit card bills, utility bills, bank statements, etc.)
  • DO NOT mail bills from your own mailbox or if the Postal Box is full and items could be removed
  • Review statements and bills frequently for unauthorized items
  • Always protect your PINs and Passwords, change them frequently

If you think you may have provided information to someone you suspect of fraud, change your password immediately and contact the company(ies) where your information may have been compromised.

Above all, protect your personal and account information at all times.


Don't Be an On-line Victim

View the How to Guard Against Internet Thieves and Electronic Scams