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Tennessee Targets Identity Thieves, Con Artists and Scammers

A panel discussion on fraud and identity theft in Tennessee tomorrow is taking on added significance with recent reports that the summer data breach at JP Morgan Chase put the personal information of 76-million households at risk. Photo credit: Yuri Samoilov/Flickr.

A panel discussion on fraud and identity theft in Tennessee tomorrow is taking on added significance with recent reports that the summer data breach at JP Morgan Chase put the personal information of 76-million households at risk. Photo credit: Yuri Samoilov/Flickr.

As the number of people who fall victim to identity theft and fraud continues to soar, Tennesseans are being urged to take steps to protect themselves. One way residents can get details on the latest cons and how to prevent being scammed is at a forum in Knoxville. Among the panelists will be police chief David Rausch, along with American Association of Retired Persons volunteer Fred Fields, an attorney who says seniors are often primary targets. “This is the base bottom line,” Fields says. “If somebody wants to know anything from your birth date to your Social Security Number, to your credit card number, don’t answer those questions on the phone or internet. You’re going to be subjecting yourself to a possible scam.” The panel discussion in Knoxville is free for people of all ages, and will be held at the McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. More information on the event is on the AARP Tennessee website. Fields says online is also where people can find details on a resource called the Fraud Watch Network. “You can go onto the Internet, put in ‘fraudwatchnetwork.org’ and it will pop up and give you real-time alerts about the latest scams, tips on how to spot them, and help you if you or someone you know has been victimized,” says Fields. Staying up-to-date is vital, according to Fields, especially with the massive data breaches over the past year at places like Target, Home Depot and JP Morgan Chase. Last year alone in the U.S., total losses from identify theft totaled about $18 billion, with a new victim every two seconds.