6 Tips to Prevent Fraud
Fraud is on the rise, but you can protect yourself!
As a society, we have come very far in the last 50 years. As we look at the world today we have gas-less cars, smartphones, high powered laptops, artificial intelligence, smart homes, fingerprint and facial recognition and so much more. It’s an exciting time to be alive! Our knowledge and technology have advanced so much over the years which is a great thing. Unfortunately, not everyone uses these new advancements for positive things. As we advance, so do the fraudsters.
Here are some ways you can protect yourself against fraudsters:
- Always research your purchases so that you know who you are dealing with.
Sure their offer may look good but is it too good to be true?
- If you are buying something online, be sure to check out their website.
- Read the fine print there may be hidden additional fees or a subscription that you are agreeing to when you were only looking to buy something one time.
- Look the company up on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website to see if you are dealing with a reputable company. If other consumers have filed complaints about this organization through the BBB you will be able to find this on their website.
- Check online to see what kind of reviews the company and/or product has.
- Be wary of companies that you aren’t familiar with.
- Protect your personal information.
- Store your passwords securely (look into an encrypted password app such as KeePass).
- Beware of companies asking you for information that they should already have on file.
- Don’t provide your card information or bank account information unless you are sure you are making a purchase and you know who you are buying from.
- Be cautious of unsolicited emails.
- If you are familiar with the company but no longer wish to be on their mailing list unsubscribe from their mailing list.
- If you don’t recognize the sender or aren’t sure if the email you received was actually sent intentionally from someone you know, do not click on any links to external websites.
- Be cautious of companies that try to pressure you into making a split second decision.
- Legitimate companies don’t have to pressure you. If you want to do business with them then you will.
- Many scammers try to pressure you into making a decision quickly and will not take no for an answer. A common type of scam involving this tactic are debt collection scams where you are being informed that you must provide payment to avoid a case being file on your social security number. That simply isn’t how it works.
- Stay away from promises of easy money.
- Have you ever received a letter stating that you won the lottery and all you have to do is send in the amount owed for taxes and the rest of the money is yours? This is a common scam
- Be careful when selling items online (via Craigslist or Facebook etc.…). In a popular scam, sellers were being contacted buy potential buyers who were offering to send cashier’s checks to the seller for payment. After the seller receives the check, the buyer contacts the seller in a panic stating they sent the check for too much and need the seller to send them some money back. This is a popular ongoing scam!
- Beware of phishing calls.
When you go fishing some essential items would include a fishing rod to reel in your catch, a hook, and bait. Well it’s the same idea for fraudsters when they go phishing for information.
Fraudsters use emails, text messages, and phone calls to contact potential prey. The fraudsters pose as legitimate companies to bait you into feeling comfortable with speaking with them. Once they have hooked you, they will reel you in and start to ask for sensitive information such as personally identifiable information (SSN, address, mother’s maiden name, date of birth etc…), banking information, credit/debit card information, and passwords.
- Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
- They may pressure you to act quickly, this is a common tactic used by cyber criminals.
- Be cautious of embedded hyperlinks. Hover of it to see if the URL that comes up matches the one that is on the email.
- Don’t open attachments from people you don’t know or were not expecting to receive something from.
- Be cautious of unusual senders. If it seems out of the ordinary, even if it’s from someone you know, don’t click on it.