Fraud is unfortunately really common. If you poke around usa.gov you’ll see that there are so many scams out there, they classify them by type…and there are a whole lot of types. There are the phone scams (with the added bonus of spam calls). Then there are the charity scams (seriously, who are these people??). And there are the bank and investment scams (can I interest you in a share of this gold mine?). We’ve rounded up a few tips to help you avoid getting scammed.
Incoming vs Outgoing Calls
You should know that incoming phone numbers can be ‘spoofed’ these days. Call your bank directly if you’re ever unsure about who’s on the other end of the phone. Call the number on the back of your card to get ahold of the real real.
Put the name of the organization and ‘scam’ into a Google search to see what pops up. You’ll often find personal stories and big warnings from government agencies letting you know about how the scam works.
Get Protected with Identity Theft Monitoring
Consider investing in identity theft monitoring. The right program should keep track of your existing bank accounts, credit cards and debit cards, any new banking accounts that are being opened, your email addresses that are tied to different online accounts, medical insurance numbers and your phone, social security, driver’s license and passport numbers.
You Haven’t Won Anything
Alright, maybe you have, but it’s unlikely. Particularly if you haven’t, y’know, entered any contests. Just be skeptical of anything that sounds too good to be true. It often is!
Don’t Feel Pressured
Scammers want to make you feel like there’s a ticking clock. Don’t get fooled into making a hasty decision. You shouldn’t make a life-altering decision just because someone you don’t know got you on the phone that day.
Avoid Getting Scammed by Saying “Yes”
You can read plenty of reporting on this one. The idea is that a scammer will record you answering a different question and claim you said yes to approve a charge. It’s pretty villainous!
Some Info Is Public
Do you know what’s publicly available? Your mortgage information. Just because someone appears to have private information doesn’t mean they’re legitimate. You don’t need to treat them like they’re official representatives from your mortgage company.
Know Check Cashing Procedures
One of the more common scams is for the scammer to send you a check and then ask you to wire part of the funds back to them. They’re relying on you not realizing the check bounced until after your mistake.
Know the cancellation policy for anything you sign up for. If the only way to cancel monthly charges is to cancel the card, that’s a bad sign.
Check Public Records
Want to avoid rental scams? Check if the house is even a rental property before you put down any deposits. People will claim to be the owners of a house but they’re conveniently out of state or in the military and can’t meet you in person.