Fraud is a broad term that refers to the act of deceiving someone for monetary gain. Over the years, fraudsters have developed a wide range of tools and techniques to fool us into giving them our money and information.
While you may have mastered the art of identifying a fraudulent phone call, there may be new ways that fraudsters are attempting to deceive us. To beat them at their own game, we are making every effort to raise awareness of scams and fraud that can put you, your family, and friends at risk. In this article, you will learn expert tips to identify if a situation is a scam.
Common Types of Fraud
We have all heard stories of online marketplace scams, received strange credit card and insurance phone calls, and have been notified that someone is trying to login to our accounts from countries we have never visited. The more stories we hear, the better we become at identifying when we are being scammed. We’re here to share the top 5 fraud scenarios that we hear about most often, along with our tips to approaching these situations.
These scams often involve a criminal advertising high-ticket items for sale at low prices online.
- When picking up the item in person, meet at a secure location, such as a police station.
- Do not accept anything but cash or certified funds for in-person transactions.
Criminals often embed skimming devices inside point of sale terminals to steal credit card information.
- Pull on the card reader before swiping your card.
- It is usually best to pay with a credit card, rather than debit, at the gas station.
Phone or Text Scams
Fraudsters may seek to steal your information or money on a call with a live person or through an automated texting system.
- Confirm the call’s legitimacy before giving out any information.
- Never fall for a call from an unidentifiable third party about a family member “in crisis."
- Look up and call the published customer service number back.
- Never click on links or give personal information in response to a text alert.
This is an attempt to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details via electronic communication.
- Be cautious with links or attachments.
- Go directly to websites that require sensitive login info, such as your email in-box or online banking, to avoid clicking links.
Tax Filing Fraud
This occurs when someone uses stolen information to file a tax return, claiming a fraudulent refund.
- The earlier you file your taxes, the better.
- Contact the IRS directly if you’ve had ID theft issues.
Fraudsters are constantly developing new technology and strategies. Just as we begin to understand their old ways of doing things, they develop new trends to keep us on our toes. Elements is constantly researching these trends in the fraud world so that we can better support you. We don’t want to keep our findings a secret, so we are here to share them with you!
Fraudsters take advantage of people who are looking for a job. These criminals give you a check to start working and set up your home office. The checks turn out to be fraudulent, and then you are out the money you’ve spent.
Expert Tip: Be cautious of “too good to be true” job offers.
These apps either silently install a different app than the preview in the store and trick the user into approving its installation, or the app will impersonate a retail brand or bank, convincing the consumer to give up login or payment information.
Expert Tip: Watch for this type of fraud, especially near Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
This is the deliberate use of someone else's identity, usually as a method to gain a financial advantage or obtain credit.
Expert Tip: Always keep your credit frozen as the most proactive defense against fraudsters.
If you have been victimized by fraud, you are not alone. Unfortunately, thousands of people each year fall victim to it. Defend yourself with information and caution.
Have questions or need trusted advice? Our credit union experts are always here for you. Contact Elements Financial for support in all aspects of your financial life.
Learn more combating fraud from a previously live broadcast of Elements Live on Facebook. Click here to watch the seminar.
This information is provided for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal, tax or financial advice. Consult with your tax, legal or financial adviser before taking any action.