A Key to Successful Relationships is Protecting Your Own Identity!

By Christi Wright Learning to protect yourself and your identity is critical before you engage in any business or professional relationships. Did you know that approximately 25.6 million US citizens were victims of fraud in 2013 (Federal Trade Commission)? Many young teens and adults are anxious about obtaining money for college, and this may cause them to fall victim to scams like false scholarships or grants. Many scams attempt to gather personal information from students who are looking for financial aid while other scholarship scams focus on charging students for scholarship information that may not actually exist. In the past 14 years, it has been estimated that approximately 22 million dollars have been lost due to scholarship fraud (Federal Trade Commission). Additional scams that target young college students are scams that include false checks and credit card cracking. An anonymous source states, “We first find a willing account holder and get their social security, account number, pin number, and debit card number. Then we write and deposit a false check-in that account... if the check is approved, we either take all the money for ourselves or split the money 95/5.” This leaves the account holder and VICTIM of the fraud with a negative account balance, owing money to the bank and at risk of significant legal trouble and termination from the bank. Fraud can be a felony offense and has steep punishments including possible jail time. Card cracking is also fraud. This is a scam via social media in which one is asked to share debit card information. REFUSE these offers from fraudsters. Another scam that teens should be aware of is “phishing.” Phishing is “a type of criminal activity that uses fraudulent techniques to trick you into providing sensitive information (JP Morgan Chase).” For example, a fraudster might disguise themselves as a credible corporation (like your bank) and ask you for your account number, username password, and PIN. One of Chase’s Senior Service Specialists, Nana Awuah, states, “If there are transactions on the customer’s account that are out of the ordinary, then we will block the transactions and notify the customer by text or email to confirm that it was them who made the transaction.”

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