Media literacy by mail

The U.S. Postal Service is sending around a brochure titled “Do you know the warning signs of fraud?” It is brief, but surprisingly helpful. Here are some of their tips:

Warning Signs

  • Sounds too good to be true
  • Pressures you to act “right away”
  • Requires an upfront investment

Play It Safe

  • Never click on a link inside an e-mail to visit a website. Type the address into your browser instead.
  • It’s easy for a business to look legitimate online. If you have any doubts, verify  the company with the Better Business Bureau.

Fraud Facts

  • Your bank will never e-mail or call you for your account number.
  • Don’t wire money to people you don’t know
  • There are no legitimate jobs that involve reshipping items or financial instruments from your home.
  • Foreign lotteries are illegal in the U.S. You can’t win no matter what they say.

Get Involved

  • Point out “too good to be true” offers to your kids, and teach them to be skeptical.
  • Share information about scams with friends and family. Use social networking to keep them safe.

More tips are available at deliveringtrust.com. I’m excited about this effort by the USPS because it represents both an awareness that critical engagement with information is important and it offers concrete tips for evaluating and engaging with potentially fraudulent sources.

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