Beware of ID theft from work-at-home scams

This past week I received an e-mail alert from the FBI newsletter that warns consumers to be vigilant when seeking employment online. The IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center) continues to receive numerous complaints from individuals who have fallen victim to work-at-home scams. With the jobless rate as high as it is, people are desperate and will turn to whatever sources in order to earn money.

According to the FBI, victims are often hired to process payments, transfer funds, or reship products. These job scams involve the victims receiving and cashing fraudulent checks, transferring illegally obtained funds for the criminals, or receiving stolen merchandise and shipping it to the criminals.

Other victims sign up to be a ”mystery shopper,” receiving fraudulent checks with instructions to cash the checks and wire the funds to ”test” a company’s services. Victims are told they will be compensated with a portion of the merchandise or funds. Work-at-home schemes attract otherwise innocent individuals, causing them to become part of criminal schemes without realizing they are engaging in illegal behavior.

Job scams often provide criminals the opportunity to commit identity theft when victims provide their personal information, sometimes even bank account information, to their potential employer. The criminal/employer can then use the victim’s information to open credit cards, post online auctions, register websites, etc., in the victim’s name to commit additional crimes. If you have been a victim of Internet crime, please file a complaint at www.ic3.gov or visit the www.fbi.gov website for more information.

Alina Lopez, one of my coordinators, and I attended a weeklong training by the Florida Attorney General Office on crimes against the elderly. This was such an outstanding class but sad at the same time. The amount of elder abuse that goes on is horrendous.

The greatest shocker was that 32 percent of the abuse to elderly is committed by their caregivers, meaning an adult child, 14 percent by a spouse and 12 percent by other relatives. According to Officer Dottie Burkett from the Seminole County Sheriffs Office, elderly abuse is the most underreported crime because the elderly are afraid or ashamed to report it.

Burkett said neglect is the most common form of elder maltreatment. This was one of the hardest classes I have ever attended, but I am glad I did because there is something we can do to stop the abuse of our most precious society, and that is pick up the phone and call 1-800-96-ABUSE if we suspect someone of being abused or neglected.

According to statistics, by the year 2030 there will be disproportionately more elderly — the baby boomers — than children in America. By then I will be 82, which is a scary thought. Florida is Number One in the nation for the percentage of seniors in the population, with more than 20 percent of residents being 65 years of age and older. California ranks second. With that said, have a great week and, as always, stay involved and be safe.
Tampa Shredding
13340 Lincoln Road
Riverview, FL 33569
813-445-7301