WASHINGTON -- The Identity Theft Resource Center has set out to find out why despite best efforts, consumers still respond to scams ranging from lottery offering and phishing to account verification e-mails.
The 2006 Scam Response Report finds that most companies and financial institutions can do a better job of informing members of scams particularly on their Web sites.
According to the report, most consumers are looking for a direct link on the company's home page of current scams. Consumers also said alert warnings need to be in an easy-to-read format and include the wording, "We do not send emails asking to verify Social Security numbers." ITRC also recommends the posting of a complete warning of scam e-mails or a resource list so that consumers can find out if an e-mail or telephone call is legitimate. In addition, information should be in both English and Spanish.
As for what is working well, the report singled out San Diego credit unions' efforts to inform members. The credit unions are not only displaying FBI posters on scams, but also training tellers about scams. When a member presents a suspicious check or asks for a large sum of money the tellers make sure to point out the scam warnings and make sure the member is not being targeted. The report finds the combination of posted warnings and teller training has been successful in educating consumers.
For its part the ITRC has redesigned its scam page for easier reference and future plans include collaborative efforts with affected companies and working with the Financial Crimes Investigation Association and Crime Prevention Officers Associations.