What can you do to avoid financial fraud?
A little suspicion can help to protect you from fraud.
Millions of people become victims of countless forms of fraud each year. Bill Hendrian, educator with Michigan State University Extension says that, “Criminals use a variety of methods to tempt you into sending money, purchasing products, or giving out personal information.” As technology continues to change, we need to do our best to stay informed about the new ways criminals try to get our personal information and our money.
- Keep in mind that wiring money is like sending cash: once it is gone, you cannot get it back.
- Do not send money to someone you do not know.
- Do not respond to messages that ask for personal or financial information, regardless if the message comes from an email, phone call, text message or advertisement.
- Do not play a foreign lottery; it is illegal to play a foreign lottery through the mail or the telephone.
- Do not agree to deposit a check from someone you do not know and then wire money back, no matter how convincing the story.
- Read your bills and statements at least monthly – both paper statements (if you still receive them) and online statements also.
- After a natural disaster or crisis, only donate to established charities.
- Educate yourself on the issues related to medical discount plans and medical identity theft.
- There is no such thing as a sure thing. Never pay fees first for the promise of a big pay-off later — whether it is for a loan, a job, a grant or a so-called prize.
- Understand who you’re dealing with. It’s challenging to really know where someone is calling from. Check out the Better Business Bureau or online reviews of the product and/or company.
Visit OnGuardOnline.gov to learn additional tips on how to use public WiFi spots, understand mobile apps, what to do if your email gets hacked, how to secure your computer, protect your kids online and avoid scams. You can also sign up to receive online security updates via email.