Catch your attention? It caught mine. A couple weeks ago, I received a letter in the mail that started off this way. You have qualified for an award of two (2) round-trip airline tickets. And that wasn’t all. I was also qualified for two nights at a hotel, which meant that my total prize was worth over $1300. Wow! But while I’d love a free trip, something about the letter made me pause.
I glanced closer at the header telling me to fly The US Airlines. I’d heard of American Airlines, of course, but never The US Airlines. Which was partly why something seemed off. The other issue was that I’d never done anything to win this award. Feeling leery after my initial excitement, I decided to Google a portion of the letter to see if my suspicions were right.
Turns out they were.
There were several red flags. One, there is no US Airlines. Two, the letter required me to respond quickly in order to receive my prize. Other things you need to always look for are restrictions and, if talking to a person, high-pressure sales.
If you haven’t read my latest romantic suspense, Stolen Identity addresses similar issues. It’s a story about a widowed mother who gets caught up in a dangerous game when her identity is stolen. While the story is completely fiction, there is a strong thread of truth behind it. And honestly, the more I did research for this story, the madder I got. Scams like this hurt thousands and thousands of people each year and criminals are making billions. I’ve talked to a number of people over the past couple of years who have either fallen for something like this, or know someone who has. The results can be devastating.
So what can you practically do to avoid becoming a victim? One, check out some practical ideas to avoid being a victim of identity theft from the US Department of Justice.
Two, whenever something seems too good to be true, remember it probably is! If in doubt, do your own research.
Three, when life spins out of control, remind yourself that your identity isn’t tied to the securities of this world. Hold instead to the hope found in our Heavenly Father.
If you haven’t read Stolen Identity, you can order your copy here! And if have read it, consider posting a review on line.