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Bank Account Scams
by John M. Roberts

When the economy goes into a noticeable recession and unemployment figures rise due to layoffs, business closures, and the downsizing of corporations, some people who would not ordinarily resort to criminal activities turn to crime as a way to survive.

Criminal activity is on the rise and it is becoming high tech. With so many people with computer and internet skills out of work, it is no wonder that identity theft and credit scams against ordinary citizens, celebrities, politicians, corporate executives, and the rich and famous have escalated into alarming proportions.

Although scams and fraud involving banking accounts have been around for many years, criminals who perpetuate this type of crime are becoming more sophisticated and they are devising ways to get around even the most complex security systems set up to protect against such illegal activity. This is true for banks of all sizes.

Once a criminal gains access to a bank account, credit card, social security number, or other personal information, they can create a nightmare scenario for the unsuspecting account holder, depleting the checking or savings account or running up credit card debt.

Most people think that they are safe from scam artists, but the truth is, we are all vulnerable to such attacks. Being over confident often leads to a lapse in the way we handle our personal and financial business data, which in turn, leaves us open to criminal enterprises.

If you get scammed, immediately file a report with your local police department. Talk with a bank representative and report it to the Federal Trade Commission. Although you may take the necessary steps in reporting the crime and doing what it takes to resolve the issues, you may still be liable for any losses that you incur.

The information listed below is provided by the Federal Trade Commission:

You can file a complaint with the FTC using the online ID Theft Complaint Form; you can call the FTC's Identity Theft Hotline, toll-free: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338); TTY: 1-866-653-4261; or you can write to the Identity Theft Clearinghouse, Federal Trade Commission, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20580. A printed version of your complaint is available only if you file your complaint online.

Please do not send the FTC your printed ID Theft Complaint Form, police report, credit reports, financial information, or any other documents relating to your case. The FTC does not keep these materials on file or forward them to law enforcement agencies. If a law enforcement agency decides to open an investigation on your case, they will contact you directly and let you know what documents they need.

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