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Scams and frauds

Recently Social Security recipients have found that their direct deposit has been redirected to another bank account. Investigators looked into the matter and found that the money was redirected to a prepaid credit card which subsequently linked to an Internet routing address in Jamaica. 

The Social Security Administration reports that approximately 19,000 accounts were compromised in 2012 in a similar fashion. The Social Security Administration has taken steps to secure the method in order to change the direct deposit account for the beneficiary. Another common reported action occurring is a telephone message being left from card service companies. The business leaving these messages is a legitimate business but uses less than tactful methods in attempting to gain the persons business in the credit card industry. Typically the caller will ask for credit card information in an attempt to lure the individual over to a lower interest rate card. In both these situations the person did not initiate contact with the individual who obtained personal information about them. 

Regarding the Social Security breaches, it is believed that personal information is gained through a social engineering phone call. It is then used to obtain enough personal information about the individual in order to change the recipient’s account information. Often times these people work together in teams, they use several different techniques and remain quite crafty. It was reported to us that many of these criminals work for days and weeks in an effort to sound more legitimate to the people.    

Lying about who they represent is also a common technique. They tend to use real company and charity names in an effort for you to believe they are reputable. If you wish to become involved in donating make sure you do some checking, make some phone calls yourself and know that your donations are going where they should be.

Please understand that legitimate companies do not call you and ask for your personal information over the phone or computer. If you receive this type of contact, make sure that you are the one who initiates the contact. If you receive these calls, hang up. Feel free to log on to our Crow Wing County Web Site regarding further information on how to get on a “no call list.”  

Always, if you fall victim to the crime of a scam or fraud, make sure you report this to your local law enforcement agency. If all of us remain diligent in realizing this type of crime we’ll work together in making it go away as well as making the criminals that prey on us go away also.