|ALERT: BE AWARE GRANDPARENTS SCAM
Telephone Con Artists Target Senior Citizens' using "Distressed Loved-One" Tactic
Across the nation, con artists are scamming grandparents out of thousands of dollars by posing as grandchildren or a son/daughter in distress. In one instance, Michigan, grandparents were taken for $33,000. They wired $3,000 to someone they thought was their grandson after he called and claimed he was caught fishing without a license in Canada and needed to pay a $3,000 fine. They were taken for an additional $30,000 after the supposed grandson called again to say that alcohol and drugs were found when his boat was searched, and he needed $30,000 to post bond to get out of a Canadian jail.
For more information on how to avoid being scammed click here.
protect yourself with a few simple steps
Go digital. By paying bills online, you reduce the risk that checks and statements containing personal information may be stolen by identity thieves. And have your paycheck deposited electronically into your account.
Monitor accounts online and frequently. Use Lake Elmo Bank's and other financial institutions' websites to check for signs of fraud, and report suspicious or unauthorized activity immediately. Consumers with 24/7 access to account activity are most likely to uncover fraud the fastest.
Install and update security software. Make sure you have a firewall, antispyware, antivirus software, and browser security software on your home computer.
Never give personal information to callers. Don't respond to phone messages that prompt you to call another telephone number about your account. Similarly, don't send account information via e-mail messages--they're not secure. Use contact information you already have for the financial institutions with which you do business.
Order your free credit reports. A regular review of your credit file may detect unauthorized accounts or other fraudulent activity. Go to www.annualcreditreport.com to order one free report per year from Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.
Shred it. Get rid of sensitive papers and statements you no longer need that contain personal information.
Finally, change a few daily habits. Mail bills from a locked mailbox; secure sensitive mobile data stored on a laptop, PDA (personal data assistant) or phone; and don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet unless you need it for a specific purpose on that given day. A stolen wallet that contains a Social Security card--as well as your address and other forms of identification--is like handing over your identity to a thief.
Report suspicious e-mails or calls to the Federal Trade Commission through the Internet at or by calling 1.877.IDTHEFT.
what you can do if you fall victim
Contact your financial institution immediately and alert it to the situation. If you have disclosed sensitive information in a phishing* attack, you should also contact one of the three major credit bureaus and discuss whether you need to place a fraud alert on your file, which will help prevent thieves from opening a new account in your name. Here is the contact information for each bureau's fraud division:
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 1017
Allen, TX 75013
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92634
Click here for a website that will provide you with some additional information on what steps you should take right away!
beware of scams
For more information on the latest internet scams and how to protect yourself from identity theft, click on any of the following links:
►IRS Email Phising Scam Alert
►NACHA Email Phishing Scam Alert
►Indentity Theft Resources
►What is Phishing?
►How to Guard Against Internet Thieves