National Consumer Protection Week 2007 officially comes to an end tomorrow. We’ve had a great week on CreditBloggers.com talking about the different scams and frauds that are out there. Now, let’s conclude the week with a list of 10 simple things anyone can do to prevent fraud. This list was compiled by our team of credit experts as part of our National Consumer Protection Week materials:
- Put a shredder in your kitchen. A recent Staples study
found that most junk mail ends up in the kitchen trash, not in the office. Make
sure that all your credit card statements and other sensitive mail are shredded
before being thrown away.
- Don’t pay money to get money. The most common scams right
now involve asking consumers to wire money in order to supposedly get a larger
amount in return. Credit.com posted a warning
about one of these scams surrounding loan offers a few months ago.
- Opt-out of pre-approved offers. Call 888-5-OPT-OUT or go
online to OptOutPrescreen.com to dramatically
reduce the number of credit card offers you receive in the mail. For any you do
receive, shred them immediately.
- Check your credit reports regularly. It bears repeating;
it’s a crucial step to guard against identity theft. Order your free annual
reports at www.annualcreditreport.com or sign
up for a monitoring
program that scans your credit data automatically.
- Help relatives check their credit, too. Children and the
elderly are often targeted for scams. You can check your children’s credit
reports by contacting the credit bureaus’ fraud offices. And you can lend your
internet expertise to help elderly relatives check their credit data online.
- Know thy scams. Become aware of frequent fraud offenses.
For a quick cheat sheet on the top ten scams of 2006, visit ConsumerAffairs.com.
- Protect your home computer. Install security
software to foil identity thieves against high-tech viruses and spyware.
- Audit your information. Check your desk at work, home
office, and online accounts for potential security risks. Data stored in emails
and unlocked files could be exposing you to fraudsters. Try to reset your online
- Investigate online. If something seems suspicious to you,
see if\ you can find some information about the company or offer online before
deciding to proceed. Reliable companies should have plenty of records online and
should be easy to contact in person.
- Report close calls. The FTC tracks consumer fraud
complaints and uses this database to assist law enforcement around the
world. If you are contacted by a fraudster, add your report to this library of
Have a great weekend! We’ll see you back here on Monday when we resume our normal blogging on debt issues, credit scores, loans, credit cards, personal finance and more!