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Hard Times Draw Scammers Out To Get you

August 5, 2010 - Lisa Goehle
We are all aware and concerned with the economic uncertainty of our time. With the unemployment at an all time high, more and more individuals are seeking an alternative way to make ends meet. While I applauded and encourage anyone who takes tough times and try to make the best of them, I also have to remember that now is when you also need to be more cautious of scams.
During the last month I became the victim of fraud when I used my ATM card on line to order a piece of clothing from a well- known company. When my bank statement came I notice a debit of $146.54 from a company in California. Knowing I didn’t make this purchase I first looked on the statement for a phone number next to the debit. Most companies will place their phone number and an identifying account number for your reference. 
The only information was an Internet site. I went on line and much to my surprise I found the site is for ordering Stripper and Pole Dancer clothing. I am not sure what a Stripper or Pole Dancer would wear that could possiblly cost $146.54. I immediately went to my bank and completed a form for ATM fraud and canceled my card. 
Since I didn’t make the purchase and I was a victim of ATM fraud my money will be returned. However I was lucky my statement came within days of the transaction happening and I was able to report the fraud immediately. Many are not so lucky and many people lose hundreds of dollars and incur bank charges. The time and effort to go to the bank complete the form and to have to wait for a new card is frustrating but also it makes you feel used. 
Just two weeks earlier, a close friend called me and told me her ATM card was also used without her knowledge and she was taken for over $700.00. According to the FBI and other Fraud Investigation Units the ATM/Debit card fraud is very difficult to stop. 
Remember; never loan your ATM card to anyone. Always when inputting your pin numbers use your body to block others from seeing what numbers you are pushing.   Most ATM cards are also used like a credit card and many times you are not required to input a pin number. There are hand held electronic devices that scan your card that are used by criminals. Keep all your receipts and compare with your bank statements and if a charge shows up call your bank. 
Remember when times are financially tough, numerous scams appear to help you through these tough times. Don’t fall for get rich quick scams- the only person getting rich is the people who are scamming you. When in doubt call and report to the Office of the Attorney General any scams, unauthorized lotteries, pyramid scams, and other correspondence asking you to open bank accounts or to cash checks for them.
Don’t be embarrassed about being a victim. Report the fraud if you don’t culprits will continue and more and more people become victims. 
 Lisa  J. Goehle


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