Linswritings

Archive for the ‘Identity Theft’ Category

Has this happened to you, you pick up the phone and immediately get a recording from “Political Opinions of America” asking you to take a survey? They even say that there is a reward if you answer these questions. Well forget about it – it is just a new scam by telemarketers.

According to an article on Fox News, companies are disguising their sales pitch as poll questions just to scam you out of your money as well as time. Here is how it works: An automated voice asks the recipient to complete a quick survey with questions like: “What’s the most important thing to restore our economy?” Other questions include: “How would you rate the job that President Obama is doing?”

After answering, the user is transferred to a live operator from “corporate travel services” who is giving away free cruises thanks to an anonymous donor. The offer allows up to four free guests and requires a $60 per person “port fee” to be secured by a credit card.

That alone should be a warning flag – never give out your credit card number to anyone soliciting to you. Hang up immediately or even better hang up when you hear that they are from “Political Opinions of America.”

But take heart, a Boston law firm is preparing a potential class-action lawsuit against a Florida-based The Berkley Group, which is behind the campaign. The law firm says, “When, one is offered a ‘free’ cruise, which is really designed to expose people to sales pitches for vacation timeshares. If you received such a call, you may have a claim against these companies, whether or not you paid them any money.”

FTC officials said to remember that if the purpose of the call is to sell something, its telemarketing and all rules apply. Simply adding a few questions about unrelated topics such as politics or weather does not constitute a bona fide survey. At least two similar “sham survey” ruses have resulted in enforcement actions against companies for such illegal calls.

To add your number to the national Do Not Registry, call   (888) 382-1222 from the phone you wish to register.

Being number 1 in the U.S. as having the most fraud cases is not an honor; however, Colorado is ranked number 1 in this case.  For  identity theft, Colorado comes in number 11 which is also not an honor to have. Fortunately, local law enforcement agencies are working hard to help the public understand the differences and to help them to protect their identities.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraud and identity theft are similar but not the same. Fraud is when someone may take  things out of your account or may use your name. Identity theft is when someone assumes your identity and poses as you. As a result, they will use your credit to buy expensive items or even take out a home loan.

The best defense you can do is to be proactive and protect your identity. Be aware of where your credit card is being used. If you are in
a restaurant and your server is gone for five or ten minutes, ask them what was the hold up or contact the manager of the restaurant to be sure that your identity wasn’t stolen. Another idea is if you bank online you shouldn’t search online with the same computer because there are hackers out there waiting to find you and steal your identity.