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How to Avoid Being Scammed

Scammers are getting more and more sophisticated in their attempts to steal your money and/or personal information. It’s important to be knowledgeable and aware of common scams in order to protect yourself from fraud.
 

Understand that scams are not directed at any particular individual, anyone can become vulnerable to a scam at any time. They try to catch you when you’re off-guard and least expecting it, so make sure to always be alert of fraudulent behavior and protect your personal information from strangers.

 
Here are some common scams to keep an eye out for:

Charity Scams. Scammers often disguise themselves as charities and nonprofits and request donations. They pose as charities and pretend to fundraise money to help those in need. Scammers know this is a sweet spot and will take advantage of the situation in order to steal people’s money.

Tips:

  • Ask for detailed information about the charity or nonprofit, including name, address, and telephone number. Always research a charity before you decide to donate and inquire how much of your donation directly goes to the program you want to support.
  • Never wire money to someone claiming to be a charity or nonprofit. Scammers often request donations to be wired because wiring money is similar to sending cash. In addition, if someone asks you to pay by giving them the numbers from a gift card, don’t do it.
  • Consider it a red flag if the organization thanks you for a pledge you do not remember making.
  • Don’t feel pressured to donate right away. Scammers will often create a sense of urgency and rush you into making a donation to eliminate the chances that you’ll do background research on the organization.
 

Computer and Internet Scams. This is when scammers dupe individuals into giving out their personal financial information by creating authentic-looking emails, text messages, or internet pages to entice their victims into disclosing financial information. Scammers have become sophisticated in their advanced use of technology in order to deceive others.

Tips:

  • Do not send any financial information or account numbers. Email is not a secure method of transmitting personal information.
  • Do not open any message that comes from an unfamiliar source. Be cautious about opening attachments and downloading files from emails.
  • Scammers often disguise themselves as a boss or co-worker by posing as legitimate business e-mail accounts. If they are requesting you perform certain tasks involving purchasing gift cards, it’s likely a scam. Always check their email address for small changes or anything that differs from the ordinary.
  • Use trusted security software on your computer and make sure it is updated regularly.
 

Telephone Scam. There are countless ways scammers can deceive others through the phone. Imposters sometimes call elderly individuals pretending to be a family member in trouble. Sometimes the scammer even knows the family member’s name and is usually crying, making it hard to recognize their voice. Phone scammers also commit identity theft over the phone claiming you’ve been selected for an offer or won a prize in an attempt to steal your personal information.

Tips:

  • Be sure to telephone your grandchild or his/her parents at a number you know to be valid to find out if the request is legitimate.
  • Never give out personal financial information over the phone, even if they claim to work for an established organization like the IRS, Social Security Administration, a charity, or hospital. Instead, look up the number yourself. Note: Government agencies never call to confirm your sensitive information.
  • Consider it a red flag if the caller insists on secrecy. Scammers will often ask you to pay in a way that makes it hard for you to get your money back — by wiring money, putting money on a gift card or prepaid card, or by using a money transfer app. Anyone who asks you to pay that way is a scammer.
 

Best practices

 

Never listen to anyone who discourages you from seeking information, verification, support and counsel from your family members, friends or trusted advisers before you make a financial decision. Make sure to always do research if you’re unsure about the legitimacy of a business or on someone you’ve only talked to online. Make sure to always use passwords to protect your information and keep them safe and secure. In addition, choose your passwords carefully and always differentiate them across your accounts. Choose passwords that are difficult for others to guess and use a mixture of letters, numbers, and symbols.

 

Learn more about financial safety and how to detect fraud. If you have any questions about a transaction that you think might be fraudulent on your account or about someone asking you for money, reach out to Alltru for help at any time. Keeping your financial information safe and secure is our priority.

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