Scam, con, identity theft...ask around and you'll probably discover that someone within your network has been a victim of consumer fraud. Here are the four easiest ways to protect yourelf from Do Not Call List scams and most forms of consumer fraud.
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Use common sense when answering your telephone or responding to mail and email. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) will never contact you to ask whether you want to be on the Do Not Call List. If someone claims to represent the FTC or a fraud protection agency and requests your personal information (bank account, credit card or social security number) to register you for the list, it is an identity theft scam.
Note any fees. The National Do Not Call Registry is free to consumers. Follow the link in the Resources section to register for the genuine National Do Not Call Registry offered by the government.
Delete or forward to the FTC any emails with subject headings that pressure you to act immediately, such as "Act NOW! Register for the Do Not Call List." If you open these emails, look for the following: a sender's address that does not end in .gov, a country code instead of a recognized United States extension, any requests for money, requests for you to call a phone number and text that is misspelled or grammatically incorrect. These are probably fraudultent. Many Do Not Call List scam artists send empty emails with Trojan viruses that attack your computer or contain links to a fake but official-looking web pages that automatically load a data mining program onto your computer that can steal personal information while you surf the web or shop online.
Invest in an anti-virus program, such as Grisoft's AVG Internet Security (see Resources below), which contains firewall, anti-spam and anti-spyware software. These security measures remove malicious software (malware), including data miners. Download at least two additional anti-spyware programs to supplement your internet security. CNET Download offers free downloads of SpyBot, Search & Destroy and Ad-Aware.
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