Scams and Identity Theft

Take Action: Quick Resources to Use if You Suspect Your're a Victim

Preventing Elder Financial Abuse
Elder financial abuse remains a growing problem in the United States. Various studies in the past few years put the range at somewhere between $2.9 billion and as high as $36.5 billion. We’ve put together a Communications Guide about preventing elder financial abuse. Here's the guide.

Identity Theft and Account Protection
Avoid becoming a victim of identity theft by following the suggestions outlined in a GBA article here. Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission. The FTC’s updated resources explain how to protect your information and how to respond if it’s stolen.

Tax Refund Identity Fraud
Each year, the IRS intercepts hundreds of thousands of fraudulent tax returns seeking billions in fraudulent refunds. It is becoming an increasingly prevalent scam. The IRS recommends filing your return as early as possible each year to beat scammers to the punch. Here are some other tips from the IRS to protect you from becoming a victim, and steps to take if you think someone may have filed a tax return using your name.

Payday Loans
The Consumer Federation of America provides information about high-cost small dollar loans, including payday loans, car title loans, bank overdrafts, and refund anticipation loans here. For payday loans, consumers can click on their state to check the legal limits and requirements that apply and to find contact information for their state regulators. Research and reports, testimony and consumer advice are also available on the website.

Advanced-Fee Loan Scams
Ads and websites that guarantee loans or credit cards, regardless of your credit history can be tempting. The catch comes when you apply for the loan or credit card and find out you have to pay a fee in advance.

Mortgage Modification and Foreclosure Rescue Scams
A recently released OCC Consumer Advisory here discusses avoiding common foreclosure scams, suggests ways consumers can avoid those scams and outlines federal rules to protect homeowners from such schemes. The Making Home Affordable program has posted a resource here on avoiding this type of scheme

FDIC Consumer Alerts
These real-time alerts provide information and warnings about frauds and scams. Click here to see recent alerts.

Check Fraud
Banks are always thinking of ways to detect forged checks and prevent their payment. Banks train their employees to watch for telltale signs of criminal activity, but consumers play a big role in preventing the fraudulent use of their accounts too. The GBA recommends you take the precautions covered here to avoid becoming a victim.

Email Scams and "Phishing"
Click here for more information about e-mail scams and "phishing," published by federal bank and thrift agencies to help identify and combat e-mail scams.