Thursday, October 22, 2020

Vassallo: Identity Theft No Laughing Matter

Finance Seminar was hosted by
Financial Protector for Seniors is sponsored by the City of Oxford, BancorpSouth and the Retiree Attraction Program.

Immediately following the seminar at the Oxford Convention Center entitled “Financial Protection for Seniors” sponsored by the City of Oxford, BancorpSouth and the Retiree Attraction Program, I quickly purchased a shredder. If your household is without one, it may be the best $55 or so you ever spend. Here’s why…

This is the shredder used.
This is the shredder used.

The seminar targeted seniors, however, it was applicable to anyone who has a checking account, credit card or any other means of quick cash.

Lt. Chris Case led off the seminar by discussing the “Three Most Common Scams Against Senior Citizens.” The Oxford police officer outlined how seniors are targets for an IRS scam that is circulating around now, a social security scam and a third scam going after grandparents. The bottom line is do not fall for any of these telephone or email based cons. Do not EVER give out your personal information especially bank account numbers and social security numbers over the phone. Legitimate contacts are often made utilizing certified mail, not anonymous (unexpected) phone calls or email inquiries. The “hacking of email accounts” is becoming more frequent. The less personal information you have on your computer, the better!

If you feel you are being targeted for a scam and live in Oxford, call the OPD at once at 662-232-2400. The above scams play to people’s fears or trying to convince you that you have just won some incredible sum of money. Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.

The program next turned to other aspects of Identity Theft involving the con artist acquiring critical information about the victim through the mail or important papers they were able to retrieve from trash bags awaiting pickup on the curb. Believe it or not, people actually dig through garbage to obtain this information. And this crime or scam is definitely on the rise throughout the nation, Mississippi included. A shredder will help to protect your financial information that you are wanting to discard. Even junk mail with your name and address should be shredded. With today’s technology, the thieves having only a little of your basic information, can acquire more. It pays to be overly careful.

Fraud and financial schemes victimize millions of individuals annually according to the United States Postal Service. And every day consumers fall prey to phony investment cons, get-rich-quick schemes, foreign lotteries, telemarketing scams and through the Internet. Protect you and your loved ones from these real life “Stings.” And here’s one more tip picked up at the seminar, fewer credit cards are better.

The more you have, the more vulnerable you are, should you ever be victimized. Stay safe my friends!


Steve Vassallo

Steve Vassallo is a HottyToddy.com contributor. Steve writes on Ole Miss athletics, Oxford business, politics and other subjects. He is an Ole Miss grad and former radio announcer for the basketball team. Currently, Steve is a highly successful leader in the real estate business who lives in Oxford with his wife Rosie. You can contact Steve at sovassallo@gmail.com or call him at 985-852-7745.

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