Protect Yourself Against Scams, Fraud & Other Rip-Offs

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It’s quiz time! Which of the following scenarios could happen to you?

A.) Your bank sends an email alerting you to “important information regarding your account.” You click on the link and are taken to a site that looks vaguely familiar, but kind of…different. You enter your login information anyway because, hey, you trust your bank. Except it’s not your bank, after all. Lurking on the other end is a fraudster – bent on stealing your identity!  

B.) You’re always cautious at the ATM, but a fraudster was able to rip you off anyway. How? By “card skimming” you with a high-tech tool hooked up to the machine and a hidden camera hidden in the bushes several feet away, recording each and every keystroke of your PIN.

C.) “Make thousands from home!” the email claimed. “Free credit report!” read the search engine results. “Free gift card!” your friend posted on his Facebook profile. Funny how you were asked for so much personal information when you clicked…and there was that small fee. Wait a minute. That wasn’t your friend. It was a scam! 

D.) All of the above

If you answered ‘D’, you’re correct. Identity theft continues to top the list of consumer complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) each year. And while there’s never been a shortage of charlatans on the lookout for your private financial information, today’s technology has emboldened them even more. In some cases, they’re not even nefarious people stealing from you, but bots!

Here’s what you need to know to protect yourself from these would-be scammers, spammers and e-swindlers.

  1. Track your credit score and monitor your credit report for strange inquiries and movements.
  2. Learn how to get your identity back if it’s been stolen and protect it, just in case.
  3. Guard yourself against fraud and the fraudsters out to defraud you. 
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