8 Practical Steps to Guard Against Fraud - Trust Point

8 Practical Steps to Guard Against Fraud

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Consumers reported $8.8 billion lost to fraud in 2022.1 Top frauds were from the following categories:

  • Imposters
  • Online Shopping
  • Prizes, sweepstakes, lotteries
  • Investments
  • Business and job opportunities

Below are some tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

Spot imposters

Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, a phone call or an email.

Don’t believe caller ID

Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is legitimate.

Consider how you pay

Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some payment methods don’t. Wiring money is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back; that’s also true for reloadable cards (like MoneyPak or Reloadit) and gift cards (like iTunes or Google Play). Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use these payment methods.

Be skeptical of free trial offers

Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. Always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.

Opt out of solicitations

Discuss opting out of solicitations to limit interaction with scammers. Registering phone number(s) on the Do Not Call Registry2 to eliminate unwanted phone calls and contact the Direct Mail Association3 to opt-out of receiving unsolicited mail.

If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint. Your reports help the FTC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring criminals to justice. If you or anyone you know has been a victim of exploitation, consider reporting this to the Department of Justice National Elder Abuse Hotline or to the FBI Internet Complaint Center.

Update Passwords Regularly

Update passwords regularly.  If you have any suspicion of your passwords being stolen, change your passwords immediately. Here are some tips for creating a strong password:

  • Create a password that is at least 16 characters or longer
  • Think of a memorable phrase of five to seven unrelated words, also known as a “passphrase”
  • Use a unique password for each account

Stay Educated on Trends in Fraud

Follow reputable news sources that report on fraud and cybersecurity issues, as these sources provide valuable insights into emerging scams and fraud trends.

Subscribe to newsletters or blogs from organizations which specialize in fraud prevention, such as government agencies, financial institutions or cybersecurity companies.

Take Action if You Suspect You Have Been a Victim of Fraudulent Activity

Carefully review all bank and credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions. Reach out to a credit bureau to verify your credit report is accurate. If you find any fraudulent activity, file a police report. Remember to keep a copy of the report as it may be needed when disputing charges. After reporting to the police, contact your financial institution to report the activity.

Keeping these eight tips in mind can help you avoid becoming victim of fraud.

Sources

  1. https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/news/press-releases/2023/02/new-ftc-data-show-consumers-reported-losing-nearly-88-billion-scams-2022
  2. Source: FTC – National Do Not Call Registry – https://www.donotcall.gov
  3. Source: Direct Mail Association – Opt Out Service – https://www.dmachoice.org/

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