The East Lansing Police Department offers the following safety tips to protect yourself from fraud:
Guard Your Personal Information
Don't provide your credit card number unless you are actually paying for something and don't provide your social security number unless you are applying for credit. Do not provide anyone you do not know with your bank information. If they are from your bank, they already have the information. You can always hang up and call the company back directly to ensure you are actually communicating with a company representative. Learn more about Credit Card Scams.
Don't give out your credit card number(s) online unless the site is secure and reputable. The safest way to purchase items online is by credit card because you can dispute the charges later if something is wrong.
Beware of Foreign & Offshore Scams
Be cautious when dealing with individuals or companies from other countries. An example of this may be an email that informs you that someone died in a foreign country and they have millions of dollars for you. Alternatively, a "rich person" in a foreign country may ask you to help them transfer funds and promise to pay you millions for your assistance. They will require you to provide your bank information or a couple thousand dollars as an up front legal fee. They get your money/bank information, you never see the millions. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Watch out for offshore scams and "investment opportunities" in other countries. You will most likely never see your money again.
Don't Believe Promises of Easy Money
It's likely a scam if someone claims you can:
earn money doing little or no work.
obtain a loan/credit card or make money on an investment with little or no risk.
It's simple: Don't believe promises of easy money.
Beware of Unsolicited Emails & Phishing Scams
Be cautious when responding to special offers, especially through unsolicited emails.
A phishing scam is a form of identity theft where you get an email from Paypal, Ebay or a financial institution notifying you that your account is compromised and you must login. There are variations on why you must login to your account, but the goal is always to get you to click a link. This link goes to an official looking site that looks like PayPal or your bank's site, but is actually fake. Once you provide your account information, the scammers use that to login to steal your money and personal information.