Trying to avoid financial scams and fraud can seem like a bit of a minefield, as many people aren’t sure how to protect themselves. However, it can be very simple and hassle free, providing you are in the know and ready to tackle would-be fraudsters. There are some pretty basic rules that are easy to incorporate so here are 8 Ways to Avoid Financial Scams and Frauds.
Table of contents:
- keep your pin to yourself!
- be imaginative when choosing pin numbers
- if a check goes missing, report it!
- even better, avoid scams and fraud by ditching your check book altogether
- always freeze your credit
- keep your financial information quiet
- store financial documents in a safe place
- lastly, use your common sense
1 Keep Your PIN to Yourself!
It may seem obvious, but never carry your Personal Identification Number (PIN) for your credit and debit cards around with you, and don’t tell it to anyone else. If a thief steals your wallet or purse, they will have instant access to all your financial accounts.
2 Be Imaginative when Choosing PIN Numbers
If you get a choice when selecting your PIN number, don’t go for the obvious choices. If a fraudster has stolen your identity, they will probably have access to numerical data that you might choose to use as a password. Avoid financial scams and fraud by not opting for birthdays and anniversaries as a PIN, and choose something a little more cryptic.
3 If a Check Goes Missing, Report It!
If you suspect a check has been lost or stolen, then ring the bank immediately. They can stop a check being processed if you provide them with the appropriate check number. Don’t wait until it has been processed, as then it’s too late. You can always write another or find an alternative payment method if you’ve made a mistake.
4 Even Better, Avoid Scams and Fraud by Ditching Your Check Book Altogether
It’s a lot more secure to pay by cash, card or online transfer. Many banks now offer free online banking that is very quick to set up, easy to use and a lot more secure than mailing a check. Also, you will be able to monitor any credits or debits to or from your account from home, so you’ll always be in control of your finances.
5 Always Freeze Your Credit
The three big credit reporting agencies, Experian, TransUnion and Equifax, now allow all their customers to freeze their credit to avoid financial scams and fraud. This means that no one will be able to use your details to open an unauthorized credit account.
6 Keep Your Financial Information Quiet
Unless you called a trusted individual or organization regarding your financial information, never give out any of your account details over the phone or online. If someone calls asking for any of you financial details or your social security number, hang up if you want to avoid financial scams and fraud. Many e-mails or telephone calls have an official pretence, and may look like the real thing, but a reputable company would not ask for financial details through e-mail or directly on the phone. Usually, the only companies that will ever need updates on your financial status are banks, mortgage providers, medical providers and credit card companies, and even then you should be given prior warning of any financial update request.
7 Store Financial Documents in a Safe Place
Always keep any bank statements, bills, unpaid or cancelled checks (as well as any other documents that have private and confidential information printed on them) in a safe place in your home. Don’t leave them in kitchen drawers or near computers, as scammers and thieves will look here first. Keep them filed and hidden, and preferably shred any documents before throwing them away. Never put papers straight into the trash, as identity thieves are not above looking through your bins in order to get your personal details.
8 Lastly, Use Your Common Sense
Avoid financial scams and fraud by becoming a little savvy. If it looks like a fantastic deal, and certain win or too good to be true, it probably is. You can’t get anything for free and no one is going to hand you money without cause. So, if that icon flashing at the side of your screen that promises ‘you’re the ten-thousandth visitor and you’ve won a huge cash prize’ looks tempting, resist the urge to click. Don’t fills in free holiday forms and don’t give out your e-mail address to dodgy looking websites. It doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun, but it will help protect you from fraud and scams.
These 8 Ways to Avoid Financial Scams and Fraud may seem no-brainers but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have the obvious pointed out to us as a reminder of the simple things we should be doing to protect ourselves and our precious cash and identity.
If you have queries, worries or questions that this post doesn’t address about how to avoid financial scams and fraud, please don’t hesitate to ask it here. I’m sure other AWS readers are full of helpful advice.
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