LINCOLN, Neb. Attorney General Jon Bruning today marked the beginning of National Consumer Protection Week by joining with Better Business Bureau President Jim Hegarty, U.S. Postal Inspector Tom Harding and Lincoln Postmaster Kerry Kowalski to discuss issues related to identity theft and scams targeting Nebraskans.
The Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division reported phishing scams as the top consumer complaint of 2013. Phishing scams like fake checks, lottery letters and mystery shopper job offers may arrive via email or through postal mail.
"We hope Nebraskans will start a dialogue with their parents and grandparents about the risk of responding to scam letters and calls,” said Lincoln Postmaster Kerry Kowalski.
U.S. Postal Inspector Tom Harding warned Nebraskans about multi-level work-at-home scams that target victims in different states.
“Unfortunately, we’ve met with Nebraskans who have lost thousands to multi-level scams operated by fraudsters in foreign countries,” said Harding.
Once scammers receive a consumer’s personal information, it can be used to perpetrate identity theft.
“Last year, my office received more than 450 complaints of phishing scams from Nebraskans and ensured proper notification was given to more than 700,000 consumers affected by Nebraska-based data breaches,” said Bruning. “Coupled with the enormous amount of personal information compromised in large-scale cyber-attacks nationwide, Nebraska consumers continue to be at risk of identity theft and fraud.”
Nebraskans were encouraged to review credit and banking statements closely for suspicious activity and report any unauthorized charges immediately.
“Identity thieves move quickly and can wreak havoc on your financial accounts and credit history,” said Hegarty. “Monitoring credit reports quarterly and banking accounts daily can help reduce any lasting damage. It only takes a few minutes a day, but may save you time and money in the future.”