Learn to Recognize These Common Financial Scams

By on May 31, 2015
Financial Scams

Learn to Recognize These Common Financial Scams

Financial Scams

In today’s era of the internet there are so many ways crooks can trick you out of your hard earned money it can be tough to keep track of them all. From identity theft and imposter scams to Medicare or charity scams, they are out there and getting smarter all the time. With financial scams taking in 16.6 million scams of identity theft alone in 2012, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics Identity Theft Survey the losses are staggering. So how do we protect ourselves from these sharks? Here are a few tips to help you learn how to recognize financial scams.

Identity Theft Financial Scams

This type of scam has become so common there is a good chance you know someone who has had it happen to them. They generally steal your personal ID such as an ATM number, credit card information or personal ID information. You can fight this by ensuring that you shred all documents and mail that you don’t need to keep. Keep your virus software up to date on your computer as this is the most common way a thief will compromise your identity, through the internet.

Don’t use the same password for everything. If you keep a booklet by your computer you can write down passwords for accounts and have it all safely offline but available when you need it. Always review your credit card statement every month for unusual charges. Call your credit card company or bank the moment you see something in your statement that doesn’t make sense.

Grandparent Scams

This is a new one that is happening more often. With social media, scammers can see our personal information and use it against us. The thief will generally call and say “Hi Grandma, it’s me.” When the person answers, “Jason, is that you?” they are off and running. They will say they are in a bind, need money wired and have a legitimate sounding excuse taken from personal information they have seen online. Don’t get caught up in the emotions of the moment. Tell them you will need to make a few calls, and then call family to confirm if the call is real or a scam.

IRS Financial Scams

This is one that is on the rise as well. Scammers will call a person and tell them that they owe the IRS money and must pay it now or risk going to jail. This will panic the person they are calling and the scammers will tell them they need to buy a pre-loaded credit card or wire money directly. The real IRS will never call you if you owe money, they will send you a letter in the mail. If you get a scammer call or one that you think is a scammer, report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 800-366-4484.

More Financial Scams Each Day

In addition to these, you can expect to get scams telling you that you have won the lottery or that they are from a known charity. In addition they can call and say they are from Medicare and ask for your social security number. Always check all of these out carefully before giving any information or paying for services. To avoid these get your number registered in the Do Not Call Registry and check websites such as this one by the federal government that reports scams. Always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t true.