Report: Fraud costs Tennesseans $13.7 million in 2007

Report: Fraud costs Tennesseans $13.7 million in 2007

Tennesseans were bilked out of more than $13.7 million in 2007 as a result of fraud, the state’s Department of Commerce and Insurance reports.

That doesn’t include money lost to identity theft, according to the department. While identify theft is significant, the department doesn’t track the financial impact of identity theft.

The top five categories of fraud reported by Tennesseans were:

Identity theft — 28 percent
Shop-at-home — 8 percent
Internet services — 5 percent
Prizes/sweepstakes and lotteries — 4 percent
Foreign money offers — 3 percent
U.S. consumers reported fraud losses of more than $1.2 billion in 2007. Sixty-four percent of the consumers involved were initially contacted via the Internet.

The most common Internet frauds, according to the Tennessee Division of Consumer Affairs, are committed through “phishing” or “spoofing.”

Phishing is a play on words to describe fishing for personal information. Spoofing means altering an e-mail address to make it look like it is originating from a different source.

E-mail “spoofers” may claim to be a bank, mortgage company or the Internal Revenue Service to obtain personal information that can be used for identity fraud or to run up the supplier’s accounts.

The Division of Consumer Affairs warns consumers not to reply to e-mails or pop-ups that ask for personal information, including credit card or account information.
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