At Grange Insurance, we want our policyholders, as well as the general public, to know how to protect themselves from fraud: first, by knowing how to identify a likely scam, and second, by knowing what to do when they suspect they’re experiencing a scam.
It’s important to be aware that fraud, such as identity theft or a monetary scam, is constantly evolving in order to outsmart its next victims. Frequently, these scams use well-known brand names to make their correspondence appear more credible. Sometimes the scammer will make “too good to be true” offers or terrifying threats that make people want to comply in order to protect themselves or their loved ones. And in the end, it’s the consumer who is responsible for footing the bill when they comply with a scam. So, the consequences can be severe.
Here are some common tactics that people who are committing fraud use to prey on their victims:
- They represent a company you’re not working with or a contest you never entered.
- Their offer seems too good to be true, such as the chance to receive a large sum of money, an amazing prize or a great opportunity in exchange for sending them a smaller amount of money up-front.
- They ask you to wire them money.
- They ask for your private banking information, such as your credit card information, bank account number or checking account routing number.
- They ask for your private personal information, such as your social security number, driver’s license number, your mother’s maiden name or other personal information.
- They make outrageous threats, such as having a police warrant, destroying your credit score or having one of your family members in jail or at the hospital.
- They ask you to respond quickly or without consulting others.
- They ask you to keep it a secret.
When you identify that you’re in a situation that has some of the hallmarks of fraud, you should:
- Pause—Take a break and do a reality check. Hang up the phone, and don’t reply to suspicious emails or mailings. Contact the company, police or hospital directly to confirm that the situation is real.
- Put yourself first—Keep your personal information private, no matter what.
- Follow a protocol—Register your phone number with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) National Do Not Call Registry and do not answer phone calls from unknown numbers. You can go online and see if the company exists, and check whether that phone number is associated with any known scams. You could even make it a rule-of-thumb not to do any business transactions over the phone.
- Protect your money—Do not cash checks, wire money or do any other monetary transaction without first conducting some research to make sure it isn’t fraud.
Visit FTC’s website to see a list of recent scam alerts. If you suspect that you have been targeted in a scam, you can file a complaint with the FTC online.
If you ever suspect that you may be encountering a scam by someone claiming to represent Grange Insurance, immediately call our Accounts Payable Department at (800) 422-0550 (ext. 4015).