Protect Yourself from Internet Scams

By Diana Moses Botkin

Clever cyber crooks are on the rise these days, and many of them target artists. Here are some useful sites where you can either report an Internet scam, or find more information about ways to protect yourself. For specific strategies to help artists avoid Internet scam and phishing attempts, refer to Scam Alert: How Scammers Target Artists and How to Avoid Getting Duped by Diana Moses Botkin in the December 2009/January 2010 issue of Art Calendar magazine.

Report it to the FTC

  • While the FTC does not resolve individual consumer complaints, your complaints can help detect patterns of illegal behavior, and lead to investigations and prosecutions. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free info on consumer issues visit http://www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261.

Info on check overpayment scams

Info on phishing scams

Info on reducing spam

  • http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/tech/tec02.shtm

Info on social networking security

Additional Tips:

  • Be wary of any e-mail received from an unknown sender. Do not open unsolicited e-mail and do NOT click on any links provided. To receive the latest information about cyber scams, go to http://www.FBI.gov and sign up for e-mail alerts. If you have received a scam e-mail file a complaint at www.ic3.gov.

  • Forward spam that is phishing for information to spam@uce.gov and to the company, bank or organization impersonated in the phishing email. Most organizations have information on their Web sites about where to report problems. Report unsolicited e-mail offers to spam@uce.gov as well — including offers inviting you to participate in a foreign lottery, looking for help getting money out of a foreign country, or asking you to wire back extra funds from a check you received.

  • Report telemarketing fraud and check overpayment scams to your state Attorney General, using contact information at www.naag.org. If you've responded to a "Nigerian" scheme, contact your local Secret Service field office using contact information from the Blue Pages of your telephone directory, or from www.secretservice.gov/field_offices.shtml.

  • Protect your credit information. Visit http://www.identitytheftassistance.org/pageview.php?cateid=39. Protect against check fraud at http://www.acfe.com/resources/view.asp?ArticleID=463.

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