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How to Avoid Financial Scams: 8 Prevention Tips

By SDCCU , 15.01.2020 Financial Education
skeptical customer on her phone How to Avoid Financial Scams: 8 Prevention Tips
Crooks use clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They spend their days thinking of new ways to take advantage of a situation and get people to send money or give out personal information.


What is Financial Fraud/Scam?

More and more people are having their financial health harmed by scammers who use deceptive practices. Even if you or someone you know haven’t personally fallen victim to financial fraud, it’s important to know what exactly is classified as financial fraud or a financial scam. Financial fraud occurs when an individual or organization gets their money, capital, or other financial assets deprived through misleading or other illegal practices. Often times, people have no idea that they have been scammed until it is too late.


8 Tips to Help you Spot a Financial Scam

Now that you know what it is, here are our top 8 tips to help you spot a scammer:
      
  1. Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone of authority so you don’t question their validity. From pretending to be from your financial institution to the IRS to even a family member, these imposters will work every angle to get your information. No matter what you do, do not give out your information. If you think it may be valid, hang up and call a listed phone number you know to be valid, but be aware of line-trapping.

  2. Do online searches. The internet is a great resource when it comes to finding the truth. Research the company or name that is contacting you to verify they are who they say they are. You can even look up phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams. 

  3. Never give out your username or password. No one should ever ask you for your username and password, not even your financial institution. You are the only one who should have access to this information. Giving out this information is handing over control of your account.

  4. Never give out your one-time security passcode. If anyone asks for this code, call your financial institution right away. Your security code is there to protect you from someone gaining fraudulent access to your account.

  5. Don’t pay upfront for a promise. A scammer might ask you to pay in advance or give your credit/debit card number to receive debt relief, credit and loan offers, etc. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees.

  6. Never buy gift cards as a form of payment. Anyone who demands payment by gift card is always, always, always a scammer. These cards are like giving cash and are nearly untraceable.

  7. Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. Law requires that funds from a deposited check must be available within a reasonable time. However, finding out a check isn’t valid can take weeks. If it is invalid, you’re responsible for repaying the bank if you used the funds.

  8. Never respond to email, text or social media request for banking information. Scammers will push you from all angles. If anyone is asking for any of your banking information call your financial institution right away.
Scammers are good at convincing people there really is an emergency and sometimes use threats such as jail or lawsuits. They push you into taking an action before you can think it through or do any research. Always stop, think twice and check the validity of every element before you take any action. Trust your instincts.


How to Report Financial Scams

Call (877) 732-2848 or visit any of our branch locations.

Visit our Financial Knowledge Blog to learn more tips on setting up a solid financial future or join us for Financial Wellness Wednesdays.

 

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