Press Release

For Immediate Release
December 8, 2003

Washington D.C.
FBI National Press Office
(202) 324-3691

Beware of Scams/Schemes/Frauds

To help protect Americans from losing their hard-earned money to scams, the Federal Bureau of Investigation today announced a list of the most common financial schemes along with tips on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraudulent activities.

"FBI Agents around the country are investigating thousands of money-making scams every day," said Grant Ashley, Assistant Director of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division. "We want the public to be aware of the many types of scams and how they can be prevented."

Fraudulent activity costs citizens billions of dollars every year and criminals are continually seeking new ways to get their hands on other people's money. There are numerous illegal activities to watch for, including Identity Theft, Bank Fraud, Health Care Fraud, Nigerian Scams, Advance Fee Schemes, Telemarketing Fraud and Securities/Commodities Fraud.

A few simple precautions can help reduce opportunities for scam artists. They include the following:

  • Protect personal information
  • Do not give out bank account, social security and credit card numbers to strangers
  • Store personal information in a safe place
  • Shred all credit card receipts and old financial statements
  • Protect PIN numbers and passwords
  • Carry a minimum amount of identifying information
  • Beware of unsolicited e-mail and Internet sites that ask for personal data
  • Do not wire money to strangers

"Fraud can happen anywhere," said 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."

To report fraudulent activity or financial scams, contact the nearest FBI office or police department.