etter Business Bureau (BBB) serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa is reminding consumers and businesses that Nov. 15 – 21, is International Fraud Awareness Week.
Fraud costs organizations worldwide an estimated 5 percent of their annual revenues, according to a study conducted by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE). If applied to the 2014 estimated Gross World Product, this translates to a potential projected global fraud loss of approximately $3.9 trillion compared to $3.7 trillion in 2013.
“These statistics tell us that fraud isn’t going away, and there is a need for both consumers and businesses to be vigilant and educated about current fraud threats. We hope International Fraud Awareness Week will help bring attention to the impact of fraud and white collar crime in our society and raise awareness worldwide that it is a serious problem that requires a proactive approach toward preventing it,” stated BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty.
Identity Theft is one of the most prevalent schemes seen today. It is occurring through cybercrimes and data breaches. These are accomplished through phishing attacks designed to get the victim’s personal information such as their bank account, credit card and Social Security numbers. Other kinds of scams to be aware of are fake tech support offers, IRS schemes, romance scams on dating sites and fake travel offers.
“But the most targeted segment of our population is seniors. Scammers are impersonating grandchildren in distress with requests for financial assistance, foreign lottery scams, Medicare and other health-related schemes, as well as solicitations from bogus charities. These have all become common place for our beloved senior citizens,” said Hegarty.
Because education is everyone’s best defense from becoming victimized by scammers, your BBB has created video reenactments of two of the most common scams targeting seniors – the Foreign Lottery Scam and the Grandparent Scam. These videos show viewers how these scams look and sound, the red flags to watch for and provide tips to protect seniors from these scams. To view the videos, go to youtube.com/bbbofnesdia or to BBB’s Facebook page at facebook.com/bbb1936.
Additionally, websites like bbb.org for consumers and ACFE.com for businesses and BBB’s new Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker are great sources of information on current fraud trends.
BBB offers these fraud and scam prevention tips:
- Protect your Social Security Number (SSN) and personal information – never give personal information to telemarketers who call you on the phone.
- Check references for door-to-door sales, home repair offers and other products at bbbinc.org before signing a contract or making a payment.
- Monitor your bills, credit card statements and financial accounts.
- Check your credit reports at annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. You are entitled to one free credit report annually from each national credit bureau.
- Protect personal ID Numbers, (PINS) and Passwords.
- Protect your information online and install virus protection software on your computers.
- Check out a charity before donating to make sure they are legitimate at give.org, BBB’s Wise Giving Alliance, bbbbinc.org for local charities or contact BBB at 800-649-6814.
Better Business Bureau has been assisting U.S consumers and businesses since 1912. It is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing trust in the marketplace. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. Today, BBB serving Nebraska, South Dakota, The Kansas Plains and Southwest Iowa is supported by approximately 10,000 Accredited Businesses that have voluntarily committed to adhere to BBB’s Standards of Trust.