Camp Hill, PA - In front of an audience of more than 300 consumers at the “Money Matters” conference in Camp Hill last night, consumer protection experts from the Department of Banking and Securities, AARP Pennsylvania, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance agreed that financial fraud is preventable and discussed 10 simple strategies that consumers can use to protect themselves from fraud such as phone scams, identity theft, phony investment schemes, and other illegal activities stemming from the Equifax data breach.
“Victims of financial fraud come from all walks of life, and they have the right to enjoy their financial independence with a basic sense of security,” said Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin L. Wiessmann during her opening remarks. “The Department of Banking and Securities and its consumer protection partners from around Pennsylvania are joining together at events like ‘Money Matters’ to create a network of awareness where people can learn how to protect themselves.”
An expert panel moderated by WGAL-TV consumer and investigative reporter Brian Roche and featuring Sandra Block, senior editor for Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, Mary Bach, chair of the AARP Consumer Issues Task Force, and Brian LaForme, Executive Deputy Secretary with the PA Department of Banking and Securities shared 10 retirement protection strategies:
1. Learn about the “red flags” of scams: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/Scams%20Booklet.pdf;
2. Learn how to protect your personal information from identity theft: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/IDTheft2014.pdf;
3. Make sure the person trying to sell you an investment licensed or registered with the Department of Banking and Securities by calling 1-800-PA-BANKS;
4. Make sure an investment idea is properly registered by visiting www.dobs.pa.gov and searching for “Registered Securities”;
5. Visit BrokerCheck (www.brokercheck.finra.org) to investigate complaints against the person trying to sell you an investment;
6. Make sure you understand the investment by asking the right questions: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/20%20Questions.pdf;
7. Order a free credit report from www.annualcreditreport.com and place a freeze on your credit;
8. If you suspect you have been victimized, call the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General at 1-800-441-2555 or visit www.attorneygeneral.gov;
9. Learn how to always “investigate before you invest”: www.dobs.pa.gov/Documents/Publications/Brochures/InvestigateBeforeInvestv3.pdf; and
10. Join the AARP Fraud Watch Network: www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork
Consumers can contact the department with any questions or to file a complaint at 1-800-PA-BANKS. Members of the public are invited to connect to the department through Facebook and Twitter, or subscribing to the department’s newsletter.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ed Novak - 717-783-4721
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