last thing anyone needs at this joyous -- and gift-giving
-- time of year is to be cheated by con artists of every stripe
-- online, offline, and on the other end of your telephone.
why a sleighful of FBI Criminal Investigative experts got
together today to outline some of the scams these modern-day
Grinches may try to pull on you and your loved ones and to
offer tips on how you can protect yourselves from becoming
victims of fraud this holiday season -- and throughout the
2,500 FBI Agents around the country -- and around the world
-- are working hard to prevent and catch these con-artists"
said Grant Ashley, who heads up the Bureau's Criminal Investigative
Division. "Last year, we investigated more than 20,000
fraud cases of all kinds: insurance fraud, telemarketing fraud,
securities fraud, health care fraud, and financial institution
fraud. Those investigations led to the recovery or restitution
of more than $10 billion of fraudulently stolen funds."
of scams like these:
credit unions. Con-artists place ads in newspapers
for non-existent credit unions offering hassle-free loans
if you wire them a fee of $1,500. Or they have you fill
out a loan application and then steal your personal information.
or mortgage elimination offers. The perpetrators
of these schemes offer to take advantage of "loopholes
in the system" that will eliminate your entire mortgage
for an up-front fee. Don't believe it. There are no loopholes.
lotteries. Scam-artists will notify you that you've
won a lottery, but you must send them some money to receive
your winnings. Sad fact: there is no lottery and you never
receive a prize.
yourself ... and report possible crimes.
come across anyone attempting these or other suspicious activities,
please report them to your local FBI office or police department.
simple precautions can help keep you from being Grinched:
-- Never give personal information over the telephone, mail,
or Internet unless you initiated the contact.
-- Shred credit card receipts and old financial statements.
-- Protect PIN numbers and passwords.
-- Carry a minimum amount of identifying information.
-- Do not wire money to strangers.
can happen anywhere," said AD Ashley, "on the street,
at your front door, on the telephone or on the computer. The
best thing individuals can do is be aware. If a deal looks
like it's too good to be true -- it probably is."
information -- and more details on the full range of fraudulent
schemes, visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center or our White Collar Crime page.