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BUSINESS BEAT: Speaker addresses identity theft during talk at H & C Burnside Senior center

COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - The H. & C. Burnside Senior Center recently hosted a breakfast meeting for area seniors to learn about Identity Theft.  More than 50 seniors attended the event on November 11, 2013, sponsored by the Branch County TRIAD.  David Rumminger was the featured speaker.  He is a volunteer presenter with Senior Brigade, an outreach program of the Michigan Attorney General’s Office.

 According to Rumminger, the most effective way to prevent being a victim of identity theft is to safeguard your personal information, such as social security numbers, credit card numbers, bank information and dates of birth. Rumminger discussed phone and internet scams known as phishing.  He explained that such scams involve criminals contacting people while claiming to be a bank, credit card company, or even a distant relative in need of cash for an emergency. 

According to Rumminger, many people fall for the scam and give out their information, only to find out later that someone has drained their bank account, charged purchases against their credit cards, or opened new lines of credit in their name. 

“The most important point in all this,” said Rumminger, “is not to give personal information to anyone who calls you.” Rumminger pointed out that it was okay to give this information to someone if you initiate the call because then you know who you are dealing with.

 Rumminger also suggested stopping your mail delivery if you will be out of town, and shredding papers that have your personal information before throwing it away to prevent your information from being stolen by “dumpster divers.”

Rumminger then addressed robocalls, automated calls dialed by a computer.  While many of them are annoying, some of them are scams.  Rumminger said, “Our suggestion from the Attorney General’s Office is to hang up (on robocalls).”

The Senior Brigade presents training on Identity Theft and Cyber Security to senior citizen groups, libraries, churches and schools.  More information on Senior Brigade may be found on their website.  www.seniorbrigade.com