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Microsite > Consumer Resources > Topic of the Month

Topic of the Month

Fraud and Scam Prevention

Each year we focus our March consumer resources on consumer protection and fraud prevention. March 1-7 is National Consumer Protection Week, a coordinated campaign encouraging consumers nationwide to take full advantage of their consumer rights and make better informed decisions. We will be sharing information throughout the month on organizations that protect your consumer rights and information on how to prevent fraud, scams, and financial abuse.

We are also excited to share with you the Federal Trade’s Commission’s new Pass It On campaign. Many people are embarrassed to admit that they have been scammed, but silence can perpetuate the problem. Chances are that you actually know someone that has been a victim, and chances are also good that it’s someone close to you. This is a great campaign that gives you the tools to share with the people in your life—acknowledging that people are often more likely to listen to people they trust, especially about a private and potentially uncomfortable topic.

We will go into further detail throughout the month, but here are a few topics and corresponding red flags we will be sharing from the FTC campaign:

  • Identity Theft: Someone gets your personal information and runs up bills in your name. They might use your Social Security or Medicare number, your credit card, or your medical insurance — along with your good name.
  • Imposter Scams: You get a call or an email. It says you’ve won a prize. It seems to come from a government official. It seems to be from someone you know — your grandchild, a relative or a friend. Or it’s from someone you feel like you know, but you haven’t met in person.
  • Charity Fraud: Someone contacts you asking for a donation to their charity. It sounds like a group you’ve heard of, it seems real, and you want to help.
  • Heath Care Scams: You see an ad on TV, telling you about a new law that requires you to get a new health care card. You get a call offering you big discounts on health insurance. Or someone says they’re from the government, and she needs your Medicare number to issue you a new card.
  • Paying Too Much: Most people pay an array of bills. Some are higher than you think they should be. Sometimes, unexpected charges appear on your bill – or sometimes, you might see a fee for a service you don’t recall ordering. Are you paying more than you should?
  • “You’ve Won” Scams: You get a card, a call, or an email telling you that you won! It’s a trip or a prize, a lottery or a sweepstakes. The person calling is so excited and can’t wait for you to get your winnings.

Check back each week throughout March while we talk about your rights as a consumer and where to turn if you have been a victim of scam or fraud. It’s also important to know that you have legal rights. There are consumer laws that protect you and government agencies that will advocate for you.

Additional Resources:
 


Consumer Federation: The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of non-profit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education.

National Consumers League: The National Consumers League is America’s oldest consumer organization, representing consumers and workers on marketplace and workplace issues since our founding in 1899.

Fraud.org: A project of the National Consumers League (NCL), a non-profit advocacy organization based in Washington, DC, was founded in 1899 to promote the interests of consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.

Consumers Union: Consumers Union is an expert, independent, nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves.

Federal Trade Commission: The FTC is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace. Also check out their newest consumer help website, consumer.gov.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau:
The CFPB’s mission is to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans — whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.

Montana Office of Consumer Protection: In Montana, the Department of Justice works to protect your rights.
 

 

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Montana Credit Unions for Community Development (or MCUCD) is the award-winning, charitable arm of the Montana Credit Union Network. A state-wide nonprofit organization, MCUCD works together with the state's credit unions to improve the lives and financial independence of all Montanans.