By: Sammi Coppedge, Marketing Assistant
Each year, millions of people are cheated out of their own money when they fall victim to scam artists. Scammers use phone, e-mail, the postal service, and social media to trick people into giving out personal information or money. Use these 6 tricks on what to do—and what not to do—to avoid falling into a scam artist’s trap.
DO monitor all financial accounts and monthly statements
Make sure you are regularly reviewing your accounts and statements for any suspicious activity. In many situations, you personally informing your bank or credit card company of fraud can be one of the only ways to detect it. Scammers will steal personal information from individuals and shop at places those people normally shop, so that the activity does not look suspicious. If you notice purchases you did not make, contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately.
DON’T give out personal information online
This may seem like a no-brainer, but in today’s age, people tend to trust every website. Never give out key pieces of information online without knowing who it is going to and why. Avoid purchasing anything from websites who are not credible. Additionally, never post a photo online where personal information can be seen, like a credit card or driver’s license number. If you are purchasing something from an online auction or like source, consider using a secure and familiar form of payment, like PayPal.
DO protect important documents and shred old ones
Things like birth certificates and Social Security Cards need to be placed in a safe location at home. Consider investing in a fireproof box to put these documents and any other important items in. If you still receive paper statements of any sort with personal information on it, make sure that you shred the documents after use. Some scam artists go as far as digging through old trash to find information on documents that they can steal. This goes for expired credit cards as well. In many cases, you need to present the original document in order for it be consider valid. Make sure that anytime you throw anything with personal information on it away you are shredding it so it cannot be stolen.
DON’T open e-mails from suspicious senders
Whatever you do, never open an e-mail and click on attachments or hyperlinks from someone you do not know. Not only can personal information be stolen through this, but it is also a way for your computer to contract viruses. If you ever get an e-mail from someone you don’t know, the best rule of thumb is to simply delete it. Downloading attachments or clicking on hyperlinks can be very dangerous to both you and your family.
DON’T send money to someone who you don’t know
Don’t send money to anyone you meet online, no matter how trustworthy they may seem. If you do not know a person, simply do not send them money. If at all possible, try only giving money in the form of cash face-to-face, so that you know that person is legitimate.
DON’T have online banking login information saved in your computer or phone
Should your phone be stolen or your computer hacked into, it is not a good idea to have your online banking login information set up to automatically login. Make sure that each time you login, you are typing in both the username and password.