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#SlamtheScam, Celebrate National Consumer Protection Week

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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Whether you’re trying to improve your credit, shop for a used car, or keep your kids safe online, #cybercriminals seem to have a knack for trying to run some sort of scam for whatever it is we’re trying to do.

Here in Indiana, in 2023, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network, there were nearly 70,000 reports of fraud, totaling a loss of $92.4 million. That’s enough, some days, to discourage even the most tech-savvy among us, to question what we can do, collectively, to protect ourselves.

In a campaign that began on Sunday, it’s National Consumer Protection Week; it’s a time – each year – when agencies and organizations at the federal, state, and local government levels join together with consumer protection groups to share information 1) about the rights we have as consumers and 2) to help all of us to improve (even more) our ability to spot, report, and avoid these types of scams.

This year’s theme is #SlamtheScam. And, while it’s true that we might not have to deliver the kind of hits you’d see on a Sunday afternoon in the NFL to stop a cybercriminal from stealing our identity, there are some steps you can take to stay upright (as those announcers would say) and avoid being taken down for a big loss that includes:

  • Protecting documents that contain personal information (and keeping it all in a secure place).
  • Always asking questions before giving out your Social Security number.
  • Maintaining a high level of protection by using strong passwords and multi-factor authentication
  • Making sure you NOT give your personal (or financial) information to someone who calls, emails, or sends you a text message, as it could be a cybercriminal trying to steal your identity.
    • If you answer and it’s not who you expected, don’t hang on, hang up!

On this website, our State of Indiana Cyber Hub, you’ll find a great deal of resources and services, as well as best practices and tips for people of all ages, including for parents/families, students, businesses, and local government (including our schools). The Indiana Attorney General’s office is also a great resource for protecting your identity for everything from freezing your credit and avoiding robocalls to information on what causes a security breach to occur and what you need to know if that breach has impacted your personal information.

Of course, amid all the celebration, if you think that your organization has been impacted by a cyber incident or cyberattack or you’re an individual who is a victim or identity theft, be sure to visit the Report a Cyber Incident page on the Indiana Cyber Hub website and you’ll find all of the steps you’ll need to report the cybercrime. In doing so, you’ll help others avoid getting sacked!