On Thursday the Federal Trade Commission released the report “Combating Fraud in African American and Latino Communities: The FTC’s Comprehensive Strategic Plan,” describing their work on assisting and educating African American and Latino communities. The report takes a detailed look at what needs to be done in order to promote public awareness.
Anyone who is actively working to serve these communities would benefit from reviewing the report. Sadly, the FTC’s research found that African American and Latino communities are known to under-report scams, despite being more likely to be targeted by scammers.
The types of scams they typically fall prey to include employment and debt scams. This includes work-from-home opportunities and debt relief scams. The best way to combat these types of cons is to educate and inform minority communities about these dangers and encourage them to report the crimes.
The FTC plans to expand its efforts in informing these communities by building networks with community organizations, visiting the areas with low-rates of consumer fraud reporting, and by further developing its law enforcement efforts to stop frauds affecting these communities.
The agency has scheduled a workshop for Dec. 6 in Washington D.C. to bring together groups that serve these groups, as well as state and federal law enforcers to study how the changing demographics of the U.S. will affect fraud prevention work in the future. More information can be found at www.ftc.gov.
Better Business Bureau is another resource for anyone who believes they have fallen victim to a scam. They can research possible scams in their area on BBB’s Scam Tracker or by calling their local BBB office.
In the meantime, here are some important tips to remember to avoid falling prey to scammers:
- Do not give Social Security, financial or other personal information to strangers who make contact by phone, internet or mail.
- Keep antivirus software up to date and be careful when surfing the Internet.
- Shred financial, tax, medical, insurance and other confidential records when no longer needed. Visit Council of Better Business Bureaus to find a shredding event in your area.
- Trust your instincts. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.