Fraud and scams have been around for many years. Perpetrators of fraud constantly change their tactics to deceive individuals who are attracted by what sounds like a “good deal.”
Every year, hundreds of North Carolinians are swindled out of their money by falling for the ploys of con artists. Protect yourself and your money from con artists by using common sense and by taking a few simple precautions while handling money or bank cards in public:
- Police and bank personnel should never ask you to take money out of your account or ask you to give them your secret ATM code. If they do, report this action to someone you trust.
- Never allow anyone to watch while you use your ATM card or code.
- Do not be intimidated by a salesman or allow them to talk you into anything. You should be able to purchase goods at your own pace. If you feel rushed or uneasy, pass up that item.
- Read and understand any contract before you sign it.
- Verify door-to-door salesmen with law enforcement or the Better Business Bureau.
- Do not enter a contest or accept free gifts or prizes unless you clearly understand all of your obligations associated with them. Read the fine print.
- Never pay for something you did not order or do not want. Simply refuse to accept delivery or make payment.
- When purchasing insurance, do so from someone you know and trust, preferably someone who is local and has an excellent reputation. Buy only what you need and can afford.
- Never give credit card numbers, your Social Security Number or bank account numbers over the telephone unless you initiate the action with a reputable company. In the wrong hands, this information can be used fraudulently against you. Report any unfamiliar purchases to your credit card company as soon as you notice them on your statement.
No one is immune to the schemes of the sophisticated con artist. Your best defense is to be suspicious of anyone offering you a great deal. Always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Doing business with companies you are familiar with and trust is the safest option. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the NC Department of Justice are committed to protecting consumers. The BBB keeps a record of scams they are aware of, and North Carolinians can report fraudulent behavior to the Attorney General.
The Securities Division of the N.C. Secretary of State's Office can verify that sellers of securities and their products (i.e. stocks, bonds & mutual funds) are both registered with the state. You may call their toll-free number at 1-800-688-4507.