8 Ways to Safeguard against Scams


I prepared this article about a week ago and then a strange thing happened.  No I didn’t get scammed thank goodness!  But I did watch an old move called “Identify Thief”  and it was exactly the premise the article mentions about not giving out personal information over the phone.  It was a great scam; she called to commiserate and tell him his credit card had been hacked.  She went on to say he would have been fine if he had the credit card protection and because he was such a great guy she would backdate it and take care of the current problem.  Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of this “free” service?  Anyway the thief got all his personal information that way, bought a car, spent all his money and even got him fired because debt collectors were coming to his office!  Farfetched as it may seem I am sure it happens to people every day.  Maybe this article will help you and me be a little more careful about who we give our information to!

Scammers have devised every possible scheme—and then some—in attempts to swindle millions out of their hard-earned money. In fact, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), more than 2.5 million consumers submitted complaints about scams in the last year alone. Knowing the signs of a con can help you avoid falling prey to these ploys, says Steve Trumble, president and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC), a nationally-recognized non-profit organization.

“Scammers often use the Internet, phone, email and pop-ups in an illegal attempt to defraud millions of consumers,” says Trumble. “Understanding all the different outlets and mechanisms used by scammers, and how to best guard against fraud, can help consumers avoid falling for common traps. In an effort to assist consumers, we have created a set of tips to help effectively avoid scams.”

These tips are:

1. Read all statements. Read through all of your bank and credit statements to check for charges you are unfamiliar with. Be sure to report unrecognizable transactions immediately.

2. Do not send money to strangers. Many scammers try to get consumers to wire money. If you are purchasing goods through an online auction, consider using a credit card that offers protection.

3. Do not reply to messages asking for information. Messages from unknown sources asking for financial or personal information are tricks to try to get consumers to unveil sensitive information, also known as phishing.

4. Be cautious when shopping via phone. Cell phones lack anti-virus software, which can leave consumers at risk when entering payment information. Shopping through retailers’ apps often provides more security.

5. Do not share Social Security numbers online. Legitimate websites and businesses rarely ask consumers to provide Social Security numbers.

6. Do not share personal identifying information over the phone. Never provide any personal information, including Social Security numbers or bank information, unless you havescam initiated the phone call and know who you are speaking with.

7. Choose credit over debit. Most credit cards come with fraud protection, which enables consumers to get their money back if they fall victim to fraud.

8. Use strong passwords. For secure accounts, create passwords that are hard to guess and include multiple numbers and characters.

And remember, Trumble says, that the most common forms of scams are fraud, identity theft, debt-in-collection and imposter schemes.

Source: ACCC

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2016. All rights reserved.

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