CHICAGO, July 22, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A recent investigation by the Cook County Sheriff's Department resulted in authorities busting up a fake sports and concert tickets ring that may have defrauded countless individuals in the Chicago area, and highlighted the fact that it's getting easier and easier for scammers to work online, and for consumers to fall prey to scams and frauds and lose their money. AARP reminds consumers to be cautious of potential frauds and scams, and protect critical personal information.
"Con artists are going online to steal your hard-earned money," warned AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo. "Common sense should tell us that if it sounds too good to be true, chances are it is. But AARP's nationwide Fraud Watch Network can also help you can beat con artists at their own game and get critical information to fight back and protect your money."
Americans increasingly do all kinds of transactions online. There are simple steps that you can take to protect your information and your money:
- Don't share anything you don't have to. That includes your Social Security Number at the doctor's office or on medical forms (if needed, your insurer can provide it); where you live, work, shop, or vacation on social media; or any personal or financial information in phone calls or emails you do not initiate.
- Monitor your financial life. Check your bank and credit card statements at least weekly for quick indicators of fraud. Access your free credit reports every four months at AnnualCreditReport.com.
- Be a smart shopper. Check your credit or debit card statements after shopping online or at stores. Never ship or do any financial transaction, including checking banking or credit card accounts on public Wi-Fi networks. And, when online shopping, type website addresses yourself; relying on links in emails, advertisement or online searches can take you to a scammer-run site or download malware to your computer.
- Sign up -- You can also sign up with the AARP Fraud Watch Network and receive alerts about cons and scams going on in your own state; you can access a network of people who are sharing their experiences with fraud so you know what to look out for; you will receive prevention tips based on interview with law enforcement and con artists themselves; you will have access to a scam-tracking map featuring the latest scam alerts from law enforcement in your state; and, your will get a free copy of our ebook Protecting Yourself Online for Dummies.
SOURCE AARP Illinois