International fraud awareness week aims to lower statistics

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Tri-State experts say knowledge is power, and when it comes to fraud you can never have too much information.

“This is something you have to deal with every day,” said Tom Bozikis, with the Better Business Bureau.

Fraud and scams aren’t slowing down, and that’s what “International Fraud Awareness Week” aims to combat. It starts Monday and runs through November 17.

“Nobody’s immune, honestly,” Bozikis said.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 2017 set a record in America with almost 17 million victims of identity theft. But fraud doesn’t stop there.

Joe Joergens with Old National Bank is a good example of how anyone can be a victim.

“My daughter was impacted when she was 2,” Joergens said.

Fraud is a billion-dollar industry for bad guys, and experts say they’re getting smarter every day.

Old National is joining the movement across the globe to make sure you aren’t a statistic. They’re trying to raise awareness to prevent all forms of financial exploitation.

“Lot of times we just think of the old pick-pocketing or stealing the wallet, which still happens. But you’re getting into phishing, smishing, into popups and those things, so it’s going very high tech,” Joergens said.

Seniors are classic scam targets, but according to Bozikis, millennials are most at-risk.  “Younger people think they’re immune to this kind of fraud, they think they know what’s going on and they don’t.”

The simplest defense is common sense, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

“I’ve seen people say they’ve won Super Bowl tickets but never entered a contest. I won the lottery eight times last year,” said Joergens.

Other simple tips: check your credit report annually and watch for loans or new cards. Develop a relationship with your bank because they can be an ally if things go south.

“Do not be afraid, but be informed,” Joergens said.

If you need help checking the credibility of a business, you can search for them at BBB.org.

Old National has resources on their website.

If you are a victim, report it to local police.

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This story was originally published on November 8, 2018

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