Fraud and Privacy Issues


What is phishing (pronounced fishing)? These are scams that are trying to steal your personal and financial information. Phishing has primarily been online in the form of email or pop-messages bus can also occur over the phone or through the mail.

Phishers impersonal legitimate financial institutions—banks, credit unions—and businesses. The phishers cast a wide net that's bound to find persons that do business with the impersonated financial institution or company.

Email and pop-up messages may have a link to click or a phone number to call. In the case of the link, it usually goes to a fake website that mimics a legitimate site.

Want to see how savvy you are about these scams? Take the SonicWALL Phishing and Spam IQ Quiz. How well did you do? It's not easy to distinguish between a real and a fake message, is it?

Here are several FoolProof resources to help you learn more about protecting yourself and your personal financial information.

From the FTC:

OnGuard Online — Phishing provides some quick facts and links to other resources.

©2010, FoolProof Financial Education Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

Identity Theft

Identity theft is the use of your identifying information—name, address, Social Security number, bank account number, credit card numbers, etc—without your knowledge or consent to commit fraud or other crimes. Identity theft can be a stand-alone scam or part of other scams.

Start with the FoolProof article Reduce Your Risk of Identity Theft which shares the basics of what you need to know and provides links to other excellent resources.

These articles from the Consumer Information section of FTC's ID Theft website describe ID theft and what you can do to prevent it, recover from it, and protect your personal information.

Identity Theft & Data Breaches Resources from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse include fact sheets, IQ ("Identity Quotient") quizzes, and alerts.

Identity Theft Resource Center has a variety of resources for victims of identity theft and those who are working on prevention. It also includes a section on workplace ID theft.

©2010, FoolProof Financial Education Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

Health Care and Insurance

Medical Privacy Resources from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse include fact sheets and other articles.

HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act which was passed by Congress in 1996. The privacy provisions of HIPPA, called the HIPAA Privacy Rule, apply to health information created or maintained by health plans, health care clearinghouses, and health care providers who engage in certain electronic transactions. These resources provide more details about what the HIPAA Privacy Rule does and doesn't cover.

  • HIPAA Basics: Medical Privacy in the Electronic Age from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse—This fact sheet explains the complex provisions of the HIPAA Privacy Rule. It covers the high and low points regarding an individual's health privacy.
  • Medical Records Privacy from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse—This fact sheet provides information on medical records not covered by the HIPAA privacy rule.
  • Consumer Focus: Are Your Health Records an Open Book? from the Federal Citizen Information Center—Provides a description of HIPAA as well as other information about health records.
  • Health Information Privacy from the U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services—This site has fact sheets, general background information on the HIPAA Privacy Rule, and HIPAA Regulations and Standards. provides a guide to understanding and managing your personal health information. This is an information site provided by the American Health Information Management Association.

Sensitive Information: Privacy and Your Medical Records from Consumer Action describes the privacy of your medical records, examples of what could happen if your information got out, what's in your medical records, laws that protect medical record privacy, and what you can do to protect the accuracy and privacy of your medical records.

Tips for Avoiding Counterfeit Drugs BEWARE! and what to do if you think you've bought them from AARP ElderWatch.

Fraudulent Health Insurance a Growing Problem from the Better Business Bureau provides some tips to avoid becoming a victim of health insurance fraud.

©2010, FoolProof Financial Education Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.


Consumers must take the initiative to protect their financial records. Many of the recent changes in federal law places the burden on individuals to opt out of the sharing of their financial information. These resources highlight some of the issues and what you can do about it.

The FoolProof report E-Statements and Managing Your Financial Accounts Online Can Offer Big Benefits provides some tips for managing your financial accounts online safely.

Banking & Finance Privacy Resources from the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse includes these articles:

From the National Consumer Law Center:

Don't Get Taken to the Bank - Protect Your ATM and Debit Cards from the Better Business Bureau provides some tips to help you avoid having your ATM, credit or debit card's details (name, address, telephone number, card number, credit limit and PIN number) stolen.

From the FTC:

Your financial privacy can also be threatened through scams. The FTC fact sheet Putting Telephone Scams…On Hold describes scams that can cost you your hard earned cash. And to add insult to injury, if you've been a victim of one of these scams, then the scammers may try again with another scam purporting to help you recover your loss from the first one!

FoolProof's Fraud and Privacy Rights Resources provides additional resources for protecting your personal and financial information.

©2010, FoolProof Financial Education Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.

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