Protect your private info from scammers

Rep. Brian Johnson
State Senator, District 32A

Someone close to me was recently victimized in a phone scam by a crooked caller posing as a legitimate source. JohnsonB 32A

Every year, thousands of Minnesota seniors are targeted by identify thieves through phone calls, the mail or over the internet. As a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives Public Safety Committee, I’m working to bring attention to these issues and further protect our citizens from scams like identity theft.

These actors may try to get you to provide private information, such as your Social Security number, a bank account number, or a credit card number. These crooks can open up new accounts in your name or steal money from existing accounts, often posing as family friends, business contacts, bankers or government employees. When it comes to private information, most legitimate sources do not ask for it, so if in doubt, don’t give it out.

Many call scam operations are based other places and dial Minnesota households. I plan on working with Attorney General Lori Swanson on ways to help prevent this type of fraud. If you’d like more educational information about tips to avoid these scams, visit the “Senior Center” at www.ag.state.mn.us and also make sure you are on the national Do Not Call Registry by visiting www.donotcall.gov.

As the Obamacare health insurance changes are implemented in Minnesota, there will be plenty of opportunity for illegitimate actors to collect your private information. Please report any suspicious activity to state authorities. Together with my colleagues in the legislature, there is certainly more we can do to protect our most vulnerable citizens from today’s slickest scammers.

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