Protect Yourself From Scams

March 2017 Newsletter

Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels—anyone can be a victim of a scam. In this article, we cover some common scams and ways to prevent them from happening to you.
 
Identity Theft
Throughout the years, this has been one of the most popular and reported scams. Victims of this crime can suffer financial loss and negative effects on things like credit ratings and relationships with creditors. All it takes to steal an identity is for someone to hack into an online system and steal personal information, or forge government documents containing the victim’s name and information. Credit card and utility information can also be used to steal an identity. Ways to prevent this scam include: reviewing your credit report annually, creating secure passwords, collecting mail quickly and not sharing your social security number.
 
Credit Repair
Fraudulent companies usually target people with a lot of debt. They collect all of your information, but don’t actually help resolve credit issues. Many of them will sell your personal information and even your social security number to third parties. Some of them charge excessive fees for fake services. While there are many companies that legitimately repair credit, it is best to verify them with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or local government to ensure they are real. The best way to prevent credit repair fraud is to do sufficient research to make sure the person asking for your information is genuine.
 
Bank Draft Scams
Personal selling online (i.e. eBay and Craigslist) has increased dramatically. You can buy pretty much anything, from anyone, with the click of a button. Although it may be convenient, unfortunately, not everyone is trustworthy. In some cases, a seller may try to get payment for the item and then not send it. Sometimes a buyer will send a bad check. To minimize your risk, you should try to use services, like PayPal, that insures your online transactions if something goes wrong. You can also go to the bank with the seller or buyer to make sure the check being issued is legitimate.
 
Ransomware
This type of fraud occurs when you download something onto your computer and the computer locks up and demands a ransom. Ways to mitigate your risk include having a backup of all important documents and installing a good antivirus/anti-malware software onto your computer. The antivirus usually warns you about the potential danger of a download. Another way is to keep a copy of software like Hitmanpro on a USB. When you start your computer, boot it up using the USB and run Hitmanpro to remove the infected files. 

Updated: Nov 17, 2020