Individuals need to be on guard to protect assets, credit score
To the Editor,
Whatever happened to Integrity? Lately I have had several reasons to protest charges to my credit card accounts. Several times I have had to cancel a card and ask for a new card to be issued. I am presently a victim of identity theft for someone who filed an income tax return for 2012 in my name; I haven’t even sent mine in yet! My auto insurance is threatening to cancel my coverage because of an incident on a deserted and dark two-lane highway last summer. We heard a thump but since it did not seem to affect the operation of the vehicle, we continued traveling. Later we discovered that the grillwork on one side of the front of my car had fallen off; thus, the thump we heard as we traveled. The insurance company calls this an accident and when I had it replaced, I paid the $500 deductible. Now they are threatening cancellation of my policy. What is the purpose of having insurance?
When you receive a statement from any of your creditors, you need to scrutinize it carefully for fraudulent use; for a “membership” monthly charge that you did not authorize; health insurance monthly payments which you have not requested and any of a number of money raising scams. ABC’s Diane Sawyer reported on this practice called “cramming.”
A lady I talked to recently said she had received a box of candy and flowers and was asked to pay for the “delivery.” This is another devious way to get your personal information. And there are many more. These stories only scratch the surface of the scams out there. I have learned that I need to scrutinize my bank statements as well. So far, my bank is not guilty of scamming, but it is so easy to click on an online program that signs you up for something you don’t realize until it shows up on your bank statement.
That also happened to me recently in checking my credit scores. Either by mail or internet activity, you are advised that you must call to cancel a “membership” or whatever or you are automatically enrolled and charged a monthly fee.
You may receive a check in the mail asking you to deposit it in your bank account and send money somewhere. When this happened to me, I wrote to the return addresses on the envelopes and said I did not care to participate. Both envelopes were returned as undeliverable. I sent the checks to the Michigan Attorney General.
There is the bogus grandchild scam trying to get quick cash from the unsuspecting elderly. I suspect much email that I receive is generated by illicit schemes and try not to open any of them. A lonely mother of two became the victim of a Nigerian scam. The perpetrator posed as a lover and swept this woman off her feet. She could not really afford the money she sent to him. She spent a whole day in a metropolitan airport waiting for him to arrive. When she heard from him again, he told her that he was “mugged” on his way out of the bank and thus not able to visit her. She later reported him to the authorities. The question is: what can they do if he is in a foreign country?
Then there are employees embezzling from their employers, medical facilities filing fraudulent claims with health insurance companies, corrupt politicians financing lavish lifestyles from misappropriated funds. The list goes on…
I want to trust those with whom I do business, but one must be constantly on guard to protect one’s assets as well as one’s credit score. Our motto should be: “In God we trust…” all others must be carefully scrutinized.