TDCI’s Securities Division Urges Tennesseans To Focus on Fighting Fraud, Identity Theft

Mar 14, 2024 at 11:45 am by WGNS News

Scammers, identity thieves, and fraudsters cheated Tennesseans out of a reported $133.6 million of their hard-earned money in 2023, landing Tennessee as the state with the 16th highest rate of fraud in the United States.  


Those shocking figures are courtesy of the Federal Trade Commission’s newly released Consumer Sentinel Network 2023 report which identifies more than 73,000 instances of fraud and other reports last year in the Volunteer State. Separately, Tennesseans reported more than 12,700 instances of identity theft in Tennessee.  

To combat this ongoing problem, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (“TDCI”) Securities Division reminds consumers to be vigilant in protecting themselves from financial fraud and identity theft by learning the red flags of financial scams and how to protect themselves.  

“Tennessee is rightfully known as the ‘Volunteer State’ for our willingness to help our friends, neighbors, and even complete strangers,” said TDCI Commissioner Carter Lawrence. “Unfortunately, unscrupulous scam artists and criminals often use our neighborliness and trusting nature against us so they can steal money and personal information. Any consumer who is approached about an investment deal that sounds too good to be true should contact our Securities team with their questions first.”  

“Tennesseans can take steps today in order to protect themselves and their loved ones from investment fraud,” TDCI Assistant Commissioner Elizabeth Bowling. “If you suspect that you or a loved one might be a victim of securities or insurance fraud, or if you would like to file a complaint or speak with an investigator, please contact TDCI’s Financial Services Investigations Unit at (615) 741-5900 or visit our website.

To help consumers avoid financial fraud, including identity theft, TDCI is sharing these helpful consumer tips: 

  • To combat potential investment fraud from occurring, senior financial investors need to talk with their adviser and provide their financial firms with a trusted contact. A trusted contact may be a family member, attorney, accountant, or another third party who you believe would respect your privacy and know how to handle that responsibility. One or more trusted contacts may be established. Naming someone as a trusted contact does not give that person the authority to act on your behalf, execute transactions, or reengage in activity in your account. If you do decide to name a trusted contact, you will want to reach out your trusted contact in advance to let them know. A trusted contact may be asked to confirm your current contact information, health status, or the identity of any legal guardian, executor, trustee, or holder of a power of attorney. U.S. broker-dealers are required to provide a written disclosure that explains these details. 

  • Be mindful of what documents you put in your trash. Identity thieves are willing to dig through garbage to find valuable information. To reduce the risk of identity theft, consider purchasing a good paper shredder (retails around $50-60), and if the document has anything beyond your name and address on it, shred it. Can’t afford a shredder? Check with your local financial institution or Better Business Bureau for free paper shredding events and services that might be available in your community. 

  • Monitor bank and credit card statements and your credit report. 

  • Use direct deposit for benefit checks to prevent checks from being stolen.

  • Never give your credit card, banking information, Social Security number, Medicare number, or other personal information over the phone, unless you initiated the call. 

  • If someone calls you and threatens you with arrest or harm unless you pay them via wire transfer or a gift card, hang up immediately. You’re dealing with a scammer. Report the call to your local law enforcement agency. 

For more information on investment scams and financial education or to contact the Securities Division, visit, email, or call 800-863-9117. 



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