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Black voters in battleground states are a crucial voting bloc in 2024; Nikki Haley says she's voting for Trump in November; healthcare advocates suggest medical collaboration to treat fibroids; distinct vibes at IU Indianapolis pro-Palestinian protest.

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The House GOP moves to strike mention of Trump's criminal trial from the record, and his former rival Nikki Haley endorses him. Meanwhile, Ohio Republicans reject a legislative fix to ensure Biden's name appears on the November ballot.

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Smokey Bear thought only "you" could prevent forest fires, but mushrooms may also help, a Native American community in Oregon is achieving healthcare sovereignty, and Colorado farmers hope fast-maturing, drought-tolerant seeds will better handle climate change.

Impostor schemes on the rise in North Carolina

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Friday, April 19, 2024   

April is Financial Literacy Month, when the focus is on learning smart money habits but also how to protect yourself from fraud.

One problem on the rise in the Southeast is the "impostor" scam, when scammers represent themselves as fake government agents or bogus businesses. They are really on the prowl for your cash and personal info, costing victims in North Carolina almost $190 million last year alone.

Natalya Rice, Southeast Regional attorney for the Federal Trade Commission, listed some key red flags to look out for.

"Utilizing a payment app, sometimes even cryptocurrency, things like that," Rice noted. "Anyone who contacts you from what seems like it could be a legitimate company or business, if they're asking you to send them money or some type of payment through one of these type of payment methods, that is a red flag that you're dealing with a scammer."

Other warning signs include requests to transfer your funds or even demands for a verification code to access an account. If you have concerns, Rice advised it is best to stop communication and contact the actual company directly. Still other scams big in the Southeast include online shopping, investments and job offers.

Nationwide, a record $10 billion was lost to scams in 2023.

More than 25,000 North Carolina residents reported possible identity theft last year. Rice recommends acting promptly when you realize or suspect you have been scammed. The first step is to contact your financial institution and report the incident to its fraud department. She added it is crucial to notify federal and state agencies for further investigation.

"You can go to reportfraud.ftc.gov and fill out a report there and let us know what happened," Rice noted. "In the state of North Carolina, there's also another place you'll want to report it to, and that's the North Carolina Attorney General's Office."

If you suspect your identity has been compromised, Rice stressed the FTC can assist you in developing a recovery plan. She added getting your money back is never guaranteed but the sooner a scam is reported, the sooner it can be investigated and other people can be warned.


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