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Consumer
Use smarts to thwart fraud
DALLAS (3/20/12)--You can get ahead in life by being good at what you do. Unfortunately, the same is true for fraudsters (MoneyGram International March 7).

Use these tactics to steer clear of scams:

  • Choose tough passwords. Fraudsters use Facebook and other social media profiles to figure out passwords. These scam artists skim profiles trolling for common names and phrases that consumers often use for passwords. Create passwords that contain numbers, letters, and symbols and are more than six characters.
  • Don't be an open book. The information you post on the Internet isn't private. Use careful judgment about anything you post online.
  • Shred personal documents. Thieves still are stealing personal information by dumpster diving. Use a cross-cut shredder to dispose of paper items containing personal information such as Social Security numbers and account numbers, as well as unsolicited credit card applications and receipts.
  • Know with whom you're dealing. Fraudsters posing as family members may ask you to wire funds or send emergency cash. If you have any qualms about e-mails you receive, be leery. Contact the family members the e-mail is supposedly from--outside the e-mail channel--and ask if they sent the email.
  • Use caution when job hunting. If you find a job online that entails working from home and the opportunity to make some quick cash, use caution. Fraudsters comb online job boards to prey on those eager to find work.
MoneyGram, a CUNA Strategic Services provider, has enhanced its fraud prevention website at moneygram-preventfraud.com, with specific advice for anyone initiating a money transfer:

  • Throw--Dispose of offers promising easy ways to earn money. Be extra cautious if the offer requires you to send money before actually earning money.
  • Know--Only send money to people you know. Never send money to strangers.
  • Show--Don't share information about money transfers with anyone except the recipient.
If you suspect fraud, contact your local law enforcement agency.

For more advice about preventing fraud, read "Recognize Online Review Fraud" in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center.
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