Seminar discusses identity theft

Seminar discusses identity theft

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COURTESY/MCT CAMPUS

As part of the American Library Association (ALA), the Albertsons Library was part of Money Smart Week, April 5-12.  The ALA works with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago with the goal to help people better manage personal finances.
Associate professor and librarian, Margie Ruppel, introduced speaker Dale Dixon, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau and owner of Dale Dixon Media.
Dixon started the Identity Theft seminar off with a sobering psychology lesson before getting down to business.
“So, your mindset, the psychology says, you’ll never be a victim of a scam because number one, you’re too smart to fall for a scam, and number two, you know how to protect yourself,” Dixon said. “That’s what scam artists loved to know.  And they love to know that you think that about yourself.”
Dixon held the audience’s attention with other cold facts.
“Seventy to 80 percent of the people who typically fall victim to scams are under the age of 60.  It is not something not targeted at the elderly, we just hear about it more.  Really it’s the folks in this room who are the primary target of scams,” Dixon said before telling the story of his wife. She received a call from her bank telling her they had suspended her card because it had been compromised.
Scams are as diverse as the people thinking them up.  Sweepstakes and lottery scams are prevalent.  Someone receives a letter stating they’ve won a large sum and in order to collect they need to send $20.  That $20 can become $50,000 or more as they string the victim along with the promise to pay the winnings.
Internet fraud and computer viruses are the biggies and are getting more sophisticated all the time.
One example is a popup window stating it’s the FBI or another agency claiming something illegal was done and the computer is locked and a $200.00 fine needs to be paid to unlock it.
According to Dixon,  aside from living in a cave and using cash only, the best way to keep information secure is to ask questions.  Ask your doctor’s office, ask the gas stations and ask the grocery store ‘What are you doing to keep my information safe?’  And always asking questions is one of the best ways to keep personal information safe.
“I want to know what’s going on, and where,” Dixon said.  “I am vigilant.  That’s the word to protect yourself – vigilant.”

Tips for Social Media:
-Do keep your status private.
-Don’t tell everyone you’re leaving on vacation before you go, that’s a good way to get robbed.
-Regularly change passwords.
-Make sure all software and browsers are up to date on all tablets, laptops and cell phones.
-Remember when signing up for any freebie – you don’t know where that information is going once it’s out of
your hands.