Stepping Up To Fight Consumer Fraud And ID Theft

May 30, 2014

Mountains of personal information have been stolen from some of the world’s largest corporations this year. That’s one of the reasons behind Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s push to educate local leaders on consumer fraud and ID theft

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan speaks with reporters at Northern Illinois University.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

Madigan and her staff led a roundtable discussion at Northern Illinois University Thursday. She says one of the best tools for detecting credit card theft is to sign up for transaction alerts.

That will allow you to find out every single time your card is used. So if you are at work and suddenly something pops up where clearly someone is spending several thousand dollars on buying a lovely flat screen TV, you can immediately call the number on the back of your card and you can make sure your company is aware that it’s something you did not authorize and clearly there’s fraud going on.

Madigan says there are a lot of scams to watch out for…and people are falling for them.

Grandparent scams, jury duty scams, a lot of the sweepstakes scams, people who are getting checks that appear to be legitimate, but in fact are not. Any time someone asks you to wire them money, please, don’t do that.

Madigan started a Consumer Protection division in her office eight years ago: she says they’ve taken on 40-thousand cases since then. She says the elderly and non-English speakers are most likely to be targeted in fraud schemes, but it can happen to anyone: she cited recent data breaches at eBay and Target. In cases like that, Madigan advises people to contact their creditors, police, and her office immediately.