a pile of US currencyPeople are always asking us questions about scams and fraud. There are many types of financial fraud like mortgage scams that target the elderly, Ponzi schemes, tax fraud that steals money from our nation’s coffers, predatory lending that discriminates against vulnerable communities, and credit card fraud.

A few years ago I was a victim of identity theft. The scary thing about identity theft is that so much of your personal information is in the hands of others – in medical offices, human resources, school records, and credit card applications. You’re really at the mercy of the people holding your records. I was lucky that the fraudsters didn’t do any financial harm to me, but the mountain of paperwork and follow-up was outrageous.  I hope it never happens to you.

If you’re smart, and I know you are, you’ll protect yourself from fraud before the fraudsters get to you.  If you’re informed, you can take steps to keep yourself and your hard-earned money safe. If you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud, I know all too well that it’s hard to figure out how to report it. Today there’s the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force web site to help. The Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force is made up of 20 federal agencies, 94 US Attorneys Offices and state and local partners that can help you report fraud.