For more information, contact Cheryl McCollum, 608/441-1216, [email protected]
MADISON – Summertime is the season for scams in Wisconsin. Whether it’s door-to-door rip offs, home repair swindlers, check schemes or identity theft, fraud reports consistently rise in the summer.
In a recent survey of bank presidents conducted by the Wisconsin Bankers Association (WBA), 72% reported either a slight or significant rise in financial crimes perpetrated against banks or their customers in the last six months. A year ago, only 63% of bank CEOs reported a slight or significant rise in financial crimes.
In an effort to educate consumers about fraud and reduce fraud risk for all state residents, the WBA is an official supporter of the 2006 National Fraud Awareness Week, July 9-14.
National Fraud Awareness Week is dedicated to increasing fraud awareness and making the fight against fraud a global battle. The WBA and its member banks are taking the steps to minimize the impact of fraud by increasing fraud education among bank customers. Through bank statement stuffers, customer newsletters, community forums and fraud alerts on their web sites, banks all across the state are reaching out and educating their customers about how to protect themselves from con artists.
Individuals, businesses and government entities, no matter their shape or size, are all possible victims of fraud. Because fraud affects local economies and the psyche of its victims, it’s critical that consumers learn how to identify and report fraud and the steps to prevent, detect and deter it.
The Wisconsin Bankers Association urges consumers to fight fraud by following these five tips all year round:
1. Never give out your personal information over the phone or the computer, unless you were the one to make the first contact. Banks will never call or e-mail asking you to “verify” your account information.
2. Whenever electronically sending credit card numbers, make sure the site is secure and reputable.
3. Check your credit card and bank account statements regularly and look for unauthorized charges, even small ones. Report these discrepancies immediately.
4. Document all your credit cards and account information, along with the card issuer’s contact information. If anything looks suspicious or you lose your credit card, contact the issuer immediately.
5. The safest way to make Internet purchases is by credit card. If something is wrong, you can most easily dispute the charges.