Okla. AG Issues Warning About New E-mail Scams

March 21, 2006

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson reminded consumers to be vigilant in protecting their personal and financial information.

Edmondson issued the warning after receiving several complaints about e-mails that attempt to obtain personal or financial information from consumers.

“Internet-related complaints topped the list of consumer complaints in 2005, and we expect they will again in 2006,” Edmondson said. “The e-mails we are seeing appear to be from a well-known bank or a credit card company, and they ask the consumer to ‘update’ their financial information. A consumer who falls for this scam will often find their bank account has been cleaned out and their identity has been stolen.”

Some of the e-mails are threatening in nature, Edmondson said.

“Some of these e-mails tell the consumer they are being sued, but that the consumer can avoid an expensive lawsuit if they will immediately pay the sender a lesser amount of money,” Edmondson said. “You will never be served with a lawsuit via e-mail, so the e-mail in itself is a giant red flag.”

Other recent scams include e-mails or phone calls from someone who claims the consumer has won a large sum of money that can only be collected after the consumer pays taxes or fees.

“There is simply no end to what con-men will try,” Edmondson said. “The best advice is to use common sense and follow your intuition. If it sounds fishy, it’s probably a scam.”

Edmondson offered the following tips for consumers to avoid being a victim of fraud:

* Only provide financial information online to a secure Web site.
* Don’t give financial information over the telephone unless you initiated the call to a reputable business.
* Don’t store your social security card and unnecessary credit cards in you purse or wallet.
* If you feel your information has been stolen, close accounts you think may be at risk and contact local law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission immediately. Also notify credit bureaus about the potential for fraud in your name.

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