Editorials

July 17, 2014

Our view: Scamming widespread; refuse to be duped

It’s too bad we can’t count on companies to have customers’ best interest at heart, at least not when it comes to thwarting credit card and phone fraud. Legislators in Washington urged companies Tuesday to do more to protect consumers. They were told that better cards, better technology and better rules are solutions – not new laws. We’re not so sure. Until protecting customers becomes more costly than allowing thieves to prey on them, we doubt much good will happen. Congress should find ways to force phone companies and firms who transfer money through interstate phone lines and the Internet to bear part of this burden. Realistically, the best defense is healthy skepticism. That’s what kept Turlock’s Jerry Parsons from being scammed Wednesday. A caller told him he had won a government grant. All he needed to do to get $9,500 was provide a bank account or credit card number so the money could be transferred. Parsons noted the caller’s number then declined to be duped. He turned the number over to police, but there’s little they can do; the scammers are not local. That’s why we need better laws: The criminals aren’t local, but their victims are.

It’s too bad we can’t count on companies to have customers’ best interest at heart, at least not when it comes to thwarting credit card and phone fraud. Legislators in Washington urged companies Tuesday to do more to protect consumers. They were told that better cards, better technology and better rules are solutions – not new laws. We’re not so sure. Until protecting customers becomes more costly than allowing thieves to prey on them, we doubt much good will happen. Congress should find ways to force phone companies and firms who transfer money through interstate phone lines and the Internet to bear part of this burden. Realistically, the best defense is healthy skepticism. That’s what kept Turlock’s Jerry Parsons from being scammed Wednesday. A caller told him he had won a government grant. All he needed to do to get $9,500 was provide a bank account or credit card number so the money could be transferred. Parsons noted the caller’s number then declined to be duped. He turned the number over to police, but there’s little they can do; the scammers are not local. That’s why we need better laws: The criminals aren’t local, but their victims are.

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