Spring 2016 Fraud News

Tax fraud during the tax season.

As the saying goes, information is power. That’s why it’s great that there has been a recent launch of two online tools to help consumers be better educated about fraud, scams, and identity theft. Here’s an overview about each of them. 

The Better Business Bureau has introduced a Scam Tracker that allows consumers across the nation to report fraud and scams and to research what has been going on in their area. Essentially, this tool is a way for the BBB to crowdsource information that can be valuable to law enforcement, both in the United States as well as in overseas countries where fraudsters might be based. It also will allow the BBB to send out alerts and warnings, will be a great base for trend analysis, and will help the media with their reporting. To check out the tool, simply go to bbb.org/scamtracker/us.

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) has created a Fraud Prevention Center, where consumers can educate themselves about various types of fraud, scams, and methods of protecting their identity and their money. The site is clearly organized and easy to surf, and it includes general informational topics, lists of recent fraud alerts, and resources for victims. Plus, it includes information about staying safe on the internet, with tips for consumers themselves as well as links to information about ensuring children’s online safety.

As scammers get craftier in their ways, it’s best to be prepared. Protect yourself against fraud, scams, and identity theft by learning as much as you can. Check out these sites today! 

Tax fraud during the tax season.

With the rise of ID fraud and theft, knowing how to protect your identity and financial information is your best defense. But what should you do if you are the victim of identity theft? Here are a few resources to help you along the path to recovery.

Through their website, The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) offers a thorough guide on steps to take if you are a victim of identity theft or fraud:

  • Contact each of the three credit reporting agencies to check your credit and initiate alerts.
Equifax 800-525-6285 
Experian 888-397-3742
TransUnion 800-680-7289

  • To file a fraud report, contact the FTC online or call them at 1-877-ID-THEFT.
  • Visit the Social Security Administration to acquire a new number and card.
  • Contact your financial institutions to freeze accounts, and then begin the process of closing fraudulent accounts and opening new accounts.
  • Contact your local police department to file a report. While this may not seem helpful, a report can be used as evidence to creditors that someone else accessed your financial information and that you took the necessary steps to resolve the situation.
  • Keep records of all of your actions since you discovered the fraudulent activity-from the companies and agencies you’ve contacted, to copies of all of the forms and reports you have filed.

For your added protection, Bellco has partnered with Identity Fraud, Inc., to offer a variety of identity crime-related solutions to help protect you, your family, and your business against identity crimes and data theft. Although no company can prevent all identity theft, these services may help you protect yourself against certain types of identity theft.

Bellco members are eligible to receive Identity Fraud, Inc. solutions at a discount. To learn more about their program benefits, including $1 million identity insurance, triple bureau credit monitoring, IF Cyber monitoring, public records monitoring, family protection and more, visit their website. If you are a victim of fraud and currently have an Identity Protection Plan from Identity Fraud, Inc., call 1-866-4ID-FRAUD (1-866-443-3728).

Each type of fraud has its own specific steps. For more information on fraud and ways to prevent it, visit ftc.gov.