Watch out for Fake Calls


Digital identity theft and the global market for stolen information are unfortunate realities of our online and digital financial system. The Federal Trade Commission received 1.8 million identity theft complaints last year, and estimates that identity theft cost Americans $1.52 billion in 2014. Nearly every major company has had data compromised. A common scam is the bogus telephone call claiming to be the IRS regarding an audit or payment due, or your local utility company seeking payment for a late bill. Another fraud involves filing a fake tax return for individuals seeking a small refund.

In the fake call scam, the caller demands payments and warns the individual that there are dire consequences for not compiling. Important note: The IRS does not make calls without a letter. If you receive such a call, seek to end the call and respond to the IRS by making an outgoing call to an established IRS number. Do not to give any personal information. In addition, tax payers can now establish PIN numbers with the IRS. Similar situations have also occurred with Duke Energy customers. North Carolina Consumers Council posted a message via their website on June 19, 2015 warning people of the growing scam.

 “The company reports that phone scammers posing as Duke Energy employees are calling customers and demanding payment for supposed delinquent bills. The caller will often request that the customer put the money on a prepaid debit card and will then ask for the card number.”

Phone, doorstep and email scammers claiming to be a utility company are nothing new – it happens to all utility companies throughout the U.S. and Canada. However, complaints about this particular scam have doubled in 2015.
Duke advises customers to

“be vigilant, stay informed and guard personal information,” in order to prevent fraud.

A Duke employee will never demand the customer pay immediately to avoid account termination.

“If a caller specially asks you to pay by prepaid debit card, this is a red flag,” says Duke.

In any case where you suspect fraud, remember to never give out personal information including birthday, address, Social Security number or banking account information. Hanging up and notifying the police is the best plan of action.

For more information on fraud alerts, visit Duke Energy’s website or call a representative.

In addition to trying to avoid being scammed, FinTrust believes that all individuals should maintain a regular data security prevention, detection, and resolution solution, as the complexity and frequency of financial fraud are growing every day. There are many providers of these services, but as a firm, we decided to reoffer LifeLock® which offers multiple identity theft products and services.

To enroll, click and enter the code FINTRUST to receive a 30-day risk-free trial and subsequent discounted rate.