FRAUD SELF-DEFENSE KIT

Maine Fraud Prevention Alliance Brings Protection to the People Attorney General William Schneider joined the Alliance as they announced their formation and unveiled the DASH Fraud program

SACO, Maine (October 3, 2012) – One in seven Americans is a victim of fraud each year. This morning, a group of Maine businesses, nonprofit organizations, and law enforcement agencies announced the formation of the Maine Fraud Prevention Alliance. At a press conference in Saco, the group unveiled their DASH Fraud program, developed with the goal of helping Maine residents protect themselves against fraud. Maine’s Attorney General William Schneider, was among those who spoke at the event.



“Today, the computer is the most common medium for fraud attempts—through innocent emails from ‘nice’ people or companies. The door-to-door salesperson is one of the oldest ploys. And, of course, there are numerous attempts through the mail and by telephone,” said Kevin Savage, President & CEO of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution, one of the alliance members. “With promises of winnings, requests for assistance, verification of non-public personal information and so much more, anyone can get caught up and become a victim of fraud. The goal of the Alliance is to create a first line of defense, giving people the tools to be proactive when put in these situations.”

Prevention is pivotal to stopping fraud, and in many cases the tools and methods are right at our fingertips. The Alliance created the DASH Fraud program as an easy reminder of four simple preventive measures:

  • Delete unsolicited emails. NO financial services company will ask for personal information via email. If the email is about someone in trouble, call a mutual friend or a relative to confirm. And, never click on links. Go directly to websites by typing in the known address.
  • Ask for permits from door-to-door salespeople. Anyone involved in transient selling must have a permit. If in question, call your local municipality or authorities. And, never let them into your house to wait while you call.
  • Shred junk mail. If you receive a mail offer that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If the offer is of interest, research reviews online, ask friends, and check the Better Business Bureau.
  • Hang-up unsolicited calls. Many calls involve claiming a prize, sending money, or confirming personal information. If you think it is legitimate, get the name of the company, the phone number, and research. Never give personal information to a stranger.



Jeff Holland, Deputy Police Chief of the Saco Police Department shared anecdotal examples of the ways in which fraud is affecting area residents. He stressed that if you suspect you are a victim of fraud, it is important to act quickly and with confidence. If you are not sure if something is legitimate, contact local authorities.

Additionally, Holland urged people to visit the Federal Trade Commission website at www.ftc.gov, and to follow the Consumer Protection links, to get on the Do Not Email, Do Not Mail, and Do Not Call lists.

The Honorable William Schneider, Maine’s Attorney General, joined for the event, noting that “[t]he Maine Fraud Prevention Alliance is providing a critical step forward in reaching our citizens and protecting them against some of the most common kinds of fraud.”

Schneider went out to outline a number of recent fraud attempts this his office is working to combat, including an effort last November when his office “warned consumers about reports of pre-recorded phone calls from companies claiming to be able to help lower the interest rate on credit cards.

“The typical phone call came from ‘card holder services,’ sounding to the unwary consumer like their own credit card company and ultimately taking information from the consumer including credit card number, social security number and other personal information.” It is fraud attempts like this that inspired the formation of the Maine Fraud Prevention Alliance.

“Prevention is the best way to address the damaging impact of fraud,” said Schneider. “The Maine Fraud Prevention Alliance is an excellent means for creating a culture of awareness and prevention.”

The Maine Fraud Prevention Alliance is a first-of-its-kind group in the state. Members include Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution, Broadreach Public Relations, Pennisi & Lamare, the Biddeford 50+ Club, Scarborough Community Services, Southern Maine Agency on Aging, The Wardwell Neighborhood, Maine Senior College Network, Biddeford Police Department, Old Orchard Beach Police Department, and the Saco Police Department. Additional partners and collaborators are currently being recruited via DASHfraud.org.

The DASH Fraud kits will be available later this month at all partner locations, including at all branches of Saco & Biddeford Savings Institution.