Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Consumer Fraud Program, AKA Fraud Fair #1

Kathleen Sayce, October 11, 2016

When I worked for ShoreBank Pacific, I had to take annual classes in fraud prevention and awareness.  I learned that frauds are endlessly creative in coming up with new ways to part people from their money illegally. So when Teresa Glidden, WA OSOS, Consumer Protection Services, offered the state’s multi-office and departmental program in Consumer Fraud Protection, AKA the Fraud Fair, the Foundation said ‘Yes.’

Our first Fraud Fair was on October 10th on a lovely sunny fall afternoon. Twenty five people put aside the holiday to attend, including me, and it was worth every minute.

Six speakers from four offices and departments did four presentations on various aspects of consumer fraud. Topics include: 
  • several flavors of charity fraud, 
  • identity theft and its consequences (www.identitytheft.gov), 
  • how to talk to phone solicitors, opting out of pre-screened offers and sales offers (optoutprescreen.com and donotcall.gov), 
  • investment frauds with an emphasis on senior safe programs and elder abuse programs, and 
  • utility and transportation fraud. 

Those attending received magnetized lists of questions to ask telemarketers, helpful phone numbers for several state offices, including Office of Secretary of State Charities Division, State Attorney General Consumer Protection, Department of Financial Institutions Consumer Services, and Utilities and Transportation Commission Fraud Prevention. All of these agencies have online services for more education on frauds and fraud prevention. 

There were short video training sessions on how to deal with tele-marketers:  
ask for their names, the name of their firm, the name of the charity they are calling for, if they are registered in the state, how much of the money that is donated goes to the charity—I have the magnetized list now for easy reference. 

The presenters know the current phone scams going around:  police, sheriff and firemen’s charities, IRS scams, Microsoft scams, the stranded/arrested grandchildren scams. Missing bank card scams. And there are mail scams, Facebook scams, email scams. Funding for areas hit by natural disasters often appear overnight on Facebook, for example. Those communities never see a penny of that money. How much do scammers make? Around $3 billion per year. 

If you have money invested in stocks and bonds, there are other scams to watch for:  unregistered brokers. Unregistered stocks and bonds. The Nigerian Prince. The deal too good to pass up. Licensed financial services people are registered with the state. You can check this online or by calling DPI (877-746-4334) or www.dfi.wa.gov. 

Bottom line on scams:  Trust, but verify the sources independently first. Ask questions. If you are scammed or suspect a scam, tell people (friends, family, local professionals), tell these state offices and agencies. Only one in every 44 people who is scammed ever says anything. Don’t let the con artists talk you into keeping silent. You can always say no, hang up, and block that calling number. 

The Foundation is going to offer this training again next year. If you would like to be notified when this is scheduled, please send your name and email address to info@spccf.org. We will add you to our email list. As a public charity and a nonprofit corporation, SPCCF is registered with the Washington Office of Secretary of State. We know you can find us on the state’s registry!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Fraud Fair!

 Consumer Protection Washington to offer consumer tips on Long Beach Peninsula 

OLYMPIA…Consumer Protection Washington, a group of consumer protection outreach specialists from several state and federal agencies and organizations, including the Office of Secretary of State’s Charities Program, is presenting a consumer protection event Oct. 10 in Klipsan Beach. 

The event, which runs from 1 to 4 p.m., will be at the Peninsula Senior Activity Center, 21603 “O” Lane, Klipsan Beach. 

The free event, sponsored by the South Pacific County Community Foundation, will include presentations and resources on charity scams, identity theft, senior-targeted scams, Medicaid fraud, utilities fraud and other topics. 

People are encouraged to follow Consumer Protection Washington’s Facebook page for tips and resources to protect themselves and their loved ones from scams and fraud: www.facebook.com/ConsumerProtectionWashington . 

For more information about the presentations, contact Teresa Glidden, the Charities Program’s outreach and education coordinator, at (360) 725-0373 or teresa.glidden@sos.wa.gov. 


When SPCCF first heard about the multi-agency Fraud Fair, the board immediately agreed that this is something our community needs. We hope that you can attend, part if not all, and come away with new information to help you live more secure lives. 

Monday, September 5, 2016

It's About Time! SPCCF Starts A Blog

And they're off!  After months of discussing, postponing and finally getting  started, South Pacific County Community Foundation has a blog. 

Every communications format has its benefits and limitations. Much of our foundation news is not 'newsworthy' to local newspapers. For attention-getting headlines, you will have to look elsewhere. Also for tsunami updates, weather, road closures. . .  

The foundation posts community foundation news here, about new funds, scholarship winners, upcoming seminars, and other information that is 'news-worthy' for community foundations and our community. The short notes go to Facebook. The in-depth, detailed articles are here.  

Also look for articles on why community foundations exist, who they help, and how they operate, noteworthy donors, rising community issues, and planning for the future. Community foundations focus on present conditions and planning better futures. 

The mission is:  Improving the quality of life in south Pacific County.  This does not mean that the rest of Pacific County is ignored. Far from it, the foundation works throughout Pacific County to bring foundation services to local nonprofit organizations and institutional organizations.   

To read more about SPCCF, see the website at www.spccf.org. 
To contact SPCCF, send an email to info@spccf.org.