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CONSUMER FRAUD PROTECTION

CONSUMER FRAUD PROTECTION

Updates From the District

September 2021, Issue 9

Fraud does not discriminate. Anyone can be the victim of fraud, regardless of education or income level. The elderly, the young, individuals, and businesses are all targets. Though the end game and motivation of scammers is often the same (obtaining sensitive information or immediate financial gain), the actual types of scams we experience on a daily basis are constantly changing.
 
Encounters typically occur online and through technology, but we also can experience fraudulent activity and scams during our daily interactions within our own respective communities. You can protect yourself by knowing what to look out for. Learn how to protect yourself and others from fraud and scams by understanding the warning signs.
 
Our Consumer Fraud Protection Unit continues to provide fraud alerts & advisories, online resources, conducts educational presentations, and is attentive to hotline complaints for those who believe they are a victim of consumer fraud.
 
In addition to our Consumer Fraud Protection Newsletter, the Office of the District Attorney – 18th Judicial District is now offering a monthly Community Newsletter that covers all other endeavors involving our District Attorney, John Kellner, and the DA18 office. Stay connected and learn about courtroom updates, community events, programs, resources, education, news and more.

Information To Educate, Serve, and Protect You

Federal Child Tax Credit Scams

Criminals are always looking for new angles to steal taxpayer’s money or personal information. As of July, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is warning taxpayers to be careful of Child Tax Credit-related scams.
 
Millions of Americans with school-age children are eligible for payments from the government under the new Child Tax Credit Program. The program is free. Families that are eligible for full 2021 credits will receive $3,600 for each child under age 6, and $3,000 for each child ages 6 to 17. Advance payments are being distributed by the IRS as monthly payments of $300 per child under age 6, and $250 per child between the ages of 6 and 17. The IRS will use information from 2020 or 2019 tax returns or information provided earlier for the Economic Impact Payment in order to automatically enroll eligible householdsinto the program and generate the advance payments.
 
Taxpayers should be concerned if they receive any unsolicited phone calls, emails, text messages or social media communications where assistance is being offered to help them secure their Child Tax Credit payments. Solicitations may include promises to speed up payments. If you do receive unsolicited communications, do not provide any personal information, do not click on any links, do not use any contact information provided in the communication, do not open any attachments and do not engage in conversation with the source. Information on this free program is available on the IRS website at: https://www.irs.gov/credits-deductions/advance-child-tax-credit-payments-in-2021.
 
Remember, under no circumstances will a legitimate Internal Revenue Service agent or other legitimate government employee ever:
  • Contact you for the first time by phone, email, text message or on social media. The agency will contact you through the U.S. Mail.
  • Leave pre-recorded messages, threaten to have a federal marshal or other law enforcement officer arrest you, set an urgent deadline for action to avoid arrest, threaten to initiate a lawsuit against you, or actually send anyone to collect payment.
  • Request that you give them your social security number, date of birth, credit card number, bank account number or any other personal information.
  • Ask you to make a payment or resolve a debt by purchasing gift cards, preloaded debit cards, cryptocurrency, wiring money, or by using an electronic payment system such as Zelle or Venmo.
 
Please review our other Consumer Alerts for additional ways to protect yourselves and the people you care about. They are available on our DA18 website: Click Here

Card Cracking – Crimes Involving Counterfeit Checks

Criminals are using social media to post messages that target young adults by promising “easy money.” The criminal may take the account holder to the bank to deposit a fraudulent check and pay the account holder a small “fee” from the cash received. In other cases, the criminal requests the debit card and PIN and may ask for the online username and password for the account in exchange for money. The scammer will use the card and information to deposit fake checks or money orders into the account and take out as much cash as possible before the fake checks are returned and the bank closes the account for fraud. The scammer may have the account holder participate further in the crime by having the account holder report the card as lost or stolen or report that account access was compromised.
 
The HookIn exchange for participation
in this conspiracy, the scammers promise
a portion of the money they take from the bank and no criminal liability. Generally, the account holder is legally responsible for repaying the bank for any money the bank pays out for fraudulent or insufficient funds checks. As there is no legitimate reason to participate in this scheme, law enforcement and the district attorney have filed criminal charges against account holders who have assisted scammers with committing theft, forgery, identity theft and money laundering. Children under 18 may not be immune from criminal charges.

Online Retailer Purchases

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), one of the most common areas of fraud the past couple of years has involved Online Purchases. The Federal Trade Commission reports similar findings, including no-show, undelivered orders.
Typical Points of Contact are fake websites, mobile apps, social media posts or fake advertisement links on a genuine retailer site. Scammers use state-of-the-art technology to set up fake retailer websites that look like legitimate online retail stores. They may use sophisticated designs and layouts, possibly stolen logos, and even an international or stolen domain name.
 
The Hook – Luxury or popular brands (clothing, jewelry, electronics) are advertised at an unbelievably low price or advertised to have amazing benefits and features that seem almost too good to be true.
 
The Risks – Victims pay for items that are never delivered and cannot get a refund. Sometimes an item is delivered, but it is a poor substitute or a counterfeit copy the brand item. In addition to taking your money, the scammer collects your personal and financial identifying information and can use it to steal your identity. Sometimes the apps, sites or links can infect your device with malware to steal private data, pictures and videos, or damage your device.

Upcoming Consumer Fraud Protection Events

September

27th
CenCON
Topic: Consumer Fraud Updates and Tips
 
28th
Lincoln County Dept of Human Services
Topic: Consumer Fraud Updates and Tips
 

October

2nd
Sons of Norway Fraternal Organization
Topic: Travel Scams & Online Protection
 
4th
National Active & Retired Federal Employees
Topic: Trending Scams & Protection Resources

 

Protect Your Family, Yourself or Your Organization

Schedule A Virtual Zoom Presentation

Current Presentations:

  • Data Breaches. ID Theft. You
  • Facing Fraud. Recognizing Scams.
  • 2020-21 Trending Scams and You
  • Youth Scams and Child ID Theft
  • Online Protection Protocols – Behavior
  • Government Imposter & Gift Card Payment Scams (30 Minutes)
  • Travel Industry Scams (30 Minutes)
  • Needs Based – Requested topics available
To schedule a presentation, contact Jamie Sorrells, Director of Consumer Fraud Protection, to set a date and topic to hear about current trends, concerns, and fraudulent activities in our district, around Colorado, and nationally. 





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