KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Cyber criminals are literally working around the clock around the world, dreaming up schemes to steal your personal information and money. There is no guarantee you won’t become a victim, but there are some things you can do to reduce the risk.
Your Social Security number is the key to all your personal information. With it, a thief can gain access to many financial and medical records. Guard that number and only give it out to someone you know and trust.
Con artists will use every trick in their book to get you to divulge account numbers and passwords. A ruse we told you about last year is that phone call from a friendly-sounding person pretending to be with your credit card company asking for your account number and PIN to stop fraudulent transactions spotted on your account. They should already know your account number.
When you sell something online, never accept a check that’s made out for more than the agreed upon price. The bad guy is going to say, “Oh, my mistake. I sent too much money. Why don’t you just wire back the extra money to me.”
While the check may look real, it’s not. If you wire the money as instructed by the fraudster, you’ll be left holding the bag for all the money you wired off. That’s because when you signed for the check at your bank or credit union, you are saying it’s authentic.
If you win a prize, it does not cost you anything. If you get a call claiming you’re the grand winner, you should not have to send a processing fee, pay a shipping fee or pay handling charges. If you really won a prize, it is free.
If the prize is legitimate, you will owe taxes on your winnings, but you pay them to Uncle Sam, not upfront to the contest promoter.
If you have been swindled, file a complaint with Tennessee’s Consumer Affairs Office, the East Tennessee Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission.
It may not get your problem solved, but it gets it on the record and might help prevent others from being conned.File a complaint: