Dispelling Common Fraud Myths

Protect yourself from fraud by knowing the truth behind the myths

We all know about fraud, but how accurate is our information? There are a surprising number of myths floating around, some of them so common they've become accepted 'knowledge' -- much to the experts' dismay! Are you falling for any of these common myths?

ID fraud myths and the truth behind them

Make sure you don't fall prey to these myths!

1. Most identity theft occurs online.

In fact, the highest instances of identity theft come from credit card misuse. That includes an online portion, but it can also involve someone stealing your credit card or a sneaky waiter or sales clerk grabbing the number.

2. People who steal credit and debit cards are petty thieves out for personal gain.

Identity theft, especially credit card fraud, is almost its own industry. Many very organized criminal groups such as drug traffickers and the like engage in ID fraud on a (dare I say it?) professional level. These people are not only very good at getting your information, they are good at stretching out the time period between the theft and the time you realize what's going on.

3. The police can't do anything about identity theft, so there's no point calling them.

While it's true that the police often find their hands tied in fraud situations, you still have to report the crime. The police will do whatever they can to help you, and sometimes they even can make arrests or stop sloppy thieves before they get too far.

4. If a website has a professional appearance and contains contact information, it's safe to do business online.

It's not hard to design a professional looking website, and it's even easier to fabricate contact information. Again, the problem here is that we regard identity thieves as petty criminals, whereas many of them are very well organized and know what they're doing. Verify that a site is real by checking its address, looking for security features, and reading online reviews.

5. If you're familiar with online scams and have a good security system on your computer, you're safe online.

Thieves constantly change and evolve their scams, and you can never completely rely on internet security systems. Always be careful and treat anything that seems a little bit suspicious with great caution. Remember the old chestnut: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!

6. Offshore tax shelters are a quick and easy way to protect your money.

Offshore tax shelters do exist, and there are legal ways to invest internationally. However, inviting people to invest in offshore tax shelters is a quick, easy way to convince them to dump large sums of money in places where American law enforcement officials can't touch it. Watch out for these investments.

There are a lot of myths out there, but if you're careful, you can avoid these common fraud pitfalls.

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