Crooks today are clever and use many different ways to try to get information that they will use to steal from you. They may steal directly from your bank account, from your credit card(s), or they may steal your identity so they can do a great deal more damage.
Sometimes they are very good at sounding legitimate, and other times they are an obvious scam. Either way, it is your job to be a smart consumer and make sure you are protecting yourself and your information at all times.
Below are steps you can take to protect yourself against becoming a victim of fraud.
Don’t automatically believe what you’re told. Be skeptical when someone calls, emails, mails, or texts you asking for money or personal information. Unfortunately, chances are good they are not who they say they are.
Know who you are dealing with by checking up on them. Do not ever click on a link in an email you are sent. Do your own online search for the company they say they are, get their phone number, and call to see if the email or regular mail you received is legitimate.
If you received a phone call, ask for a number to call back once you’ve thought it over. If they can’t or won’t give you one, or become pushy, hang up. This shows you it is a scam and they are imposters. Honest companies would have no problem with that.
Only con-artists are pushy during phone calls and want you to make quick decisions. Go slow. If it makes the person on the other end angry, then hang up and don’t answer if they call again.
Talk to Someone You Trust
Choose a family member or friend you can call and ask for their opinion. Someone who is younger and tech-savy would be a great choice. Call or text them and explain the situation or the phone call or email you received. Ask if they think it’s a scam.
Do not hand over any money or information unless your trusted person agrees.
Don’t Believe Caller ID
It’s easy to fake Caller ID these days and you cannot rely on it to tell you who is on the phone. Scammers can easily program it to show whatever they want.
Pay the Safest Way
The safest way to pay for anything is with a credit card, due to the protections that are built in. Wiring money, reloadable cards and gift cards have little or no protection and government offices and honest businesses will never ask you to pay with them.
Should you receive a check in the mail and you are asked to deposit it and wire money back, don’t do it. Take it to your bank or local police department. They can help you determine if it is real or fake. Chances are very high that it is fake and if you follow their directions, you will have to pay the bank back.
Guard Your Personal Information
Crooks try a lot of different ways to get your personal information. If anyone calls, texts or emails, claiming they need you to verify information, do NOT answer. The only time you give information is if you initiated the call or purchase. You should never need to supply your social security number unless you are applying for credit.
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud, and you don’t know where to turn, contact Klein Hall CPAs and we can help you, or point you in the right direction to get the help you need.