Scam Jam Fraud Summit Hosted by the BBB at the ASU Ballroom

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Moderator Tom Kennemer introduced the Fraud Summit with this opening statement: "Hold on to your money by avoiding schemes, fraud and some In-Laws!"

Yes, 50% of identity thefts are from our family, close friends and folks we trust!

"You are the best protector of your own information," was the message from Josephine M. Johnson, Public Protection Specialist, Consumer Affairs Division. "Don't carry your Social Security card around with you in your wallet, don't carry your bank card and insurance card if you aren't going there, and especially don't write your PIN number on your bank card," said  Johnson.

Other helpful tips from the panel of specialist were:

Don't include your birth year or your children's on your Facebook page.

Don't put your payments in your home mailbox, take them to the Post Office or place them in a mail drop box. The raised flag on your mail box is a signal to criminals, they can take your mail and 'wash' your check to use for their own purpose.

Let the answer machine screen unidentified calls, you can always call back the important or legitimate calls.

Tear off your prescription labels before discarding in the trash, and heavily mark out the information or tear them up.

Tell your bank not to send convenience checks unless you ask for them.

When possible shop in pairs, be aware of your surroundings, and never leave your purse in open view in the car. If you aren't going to carry your bag or purse, place in your trunk prior to arriving at your destination. Crooks do watch the parking lots!

When you go out of town, ask the Post Office to hold your mail. Neighbors are great to pick up your mail for you, but you don't know who will be visiting them to possibly lift your information.

Some of the most common scams are:

Driveway pavers - those who just stop in - out in the neighborhood.

Yard workers, again they just stop in without being called.

Receive a check and are asked to cash, keep X amount for you and send remainder to the sender.

Lottery Winners - if you didn't enter or purchase a lottery ticket, you can't be a winner.

Remember criminals are really good interviewers - they will extract information from you without you realizing what you have given.

Teresa Todd/AthensPlus.com
June 8th 2010