Charlie Hamlyn is Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Grand Traverse County, as well as a Traverse City Rotarian. He described commonplace fraudulent schemes and how to avoid them.
A common financial scam involves health care and Medicare fraud, most often via phone. Know that government agencies will not contact you by telephone.  Counterfeit prescription drugs are another kind of scam, usually by internet/email.  Always consultant your physician or pharmacist about anything that seems suspicious, and be very careful when purchasing prescription drugs on the internet.
The rise of the internet has made telemarketing scams much harder to stop.  Several scams often perpetrated over the telephone include:
  • IRS
  • The pigeon drop
  • Grandparent scam
  • The fake accident
  • Charity scam
To protect yourself remember that federal agencies will not contact you by telephone. Be careful of warning phrases ("You must act now . . .") and do not buy products from unfamiliar companies.  And never give out personal information over the phone.
Internet fraud scams include software and email/phishing scams, where the common method of contact may be a pop-up ad for anti-virus software.  To protect from this never click on or download anything from a company you do not recognize.  In fact be careful when downloading anything at all, and never give out confidential information in an unsecure email.
Password protection is always important, particularly with respect to financial institution sites.  And be careful when using public computers.
Also be careful on Facebook.  Don't post vacation pictures until you return home.  And be cautious with power-of-attorney forms and the like.
A copy of Mr. Hamlyn's slide presentation is available here.