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Utahn’s Beware Of Old Scammers Seeking New Victims

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Utah consumers are being warned to watch out for scams in 2016.  The Utah Department of Commerce is focusing on six common attempts at fraud as a way of helping to educate the public.

Francine Giani is executive director of the Utah Department of Commerce. She is responsible for helping protect the public from old consumer scams used to bait new victims into giving up their money, account numbers and personal information.

“Once that information goes out whether it is over the internet if you are on a computer or over the telephone we really have no way to protect that any more so be very, very careful,” said Giani.

Dubious debt collectors, computer con artists and fake security alarm company technicians claiming they need to upgrade your equipment right away continue to circle the state.   Scammers are also taking advantage of consumers through new federal bank and credit card regulations requiring the “smart chip” if you plan to shop in stores nationwide.

“They don’t need your information because they already have it,” she said. “And so be very, very cautious of those kinds of things. The other thing we have seen a little bit of is called the Microsoft scam, or it could be any other computer software company stating that you have a problem with your computer and if you can get on your computer and just hit a couple of key strikes that maybe we can help you out. Well that’s not going to happen either. Again, take a minute, do some homework and maybe get back to people.”

Giani said Utah has not been as hard hit by phony IRS calls claiming someone owes back taxes and threatening arrest or other legal action. Most of those calls are happening in larger states like California. And, she said, the belief that Utahn’s are scammed more often than consumers in other states is false.

“You think about it, we do a lot of what we do online and the crooks know that,” said Giani. "Unfortunately, this is all they do. They think of the next way they can separate people from their money.”

If you have been scammed or have questions about a possible attempt to illegally acquire your personal information you can contact the Utah Department of Commerce.

At 14-years-old, Kerry began working as a reporter for KVEL “The Hot One” in Vernal, Utah. Her radio news interests led her to Logan where she became news director for KBLQ while attending Utah State University. She graduated USU with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and spent the next few years working for Utah Public Radio. Leaving UPR in 1993 she spent the next 14 years as the full time mother of four boys before returning in 2007. Kerry and her husband Boyd reside in Nibley.