There are more ways than ever for scam artists to take advantage of hard working consumers. Falling victim to a scam can leave even the most fiscally responsible consumers in need of debt relief options. The best way to avoid scams is to know the common tactics that ID thieves and other swindlers will use to steal your information and money.
Common Consumer Scams
There are more avenues than ever for scammers to reach potential victims. Phone and email scams are still a common occurrence. Technology has also brought scamming to social media. Knowledge is key to never needing help getting out of debt caused by getting conned. Let’s look at some basic and advanced scams you should look out for.
- Phishing – When a scammer poses as a creditor, IRS agent, or other supposedly trustworthy official by phone or email in order to get your info directly from you, it’s called “phishing.” They will says there’s a problem with your account or that you qualified for a special rate. Then they ask for your Social Security Number or account number to “verify” your identity.
- Fake Charity/Political Campaign – This is a standard way for con artists to prey upon your good intentions by soliciting donations to a charity or political campaign. They may even pretend to be from a legitimate organization in order to convince you they can take a direct payment via credit card.
- Fake Web Forms – Similar to phishing scams, links provided in email will lead to a website that looks extremely accurate. In actuality, it’s a fake form built to let you input your data and send it straight to an ID thief.
- Social Scams – The latest venue for scamming is Facebook. Malicious “apps” that gain access to your friend list will send out an invite to a special sale or a online charity event. The link will direct you to the same kind of fake web form that is built to give your info to an ID thief.
- Mobile Wallet Pickpockets – With the advent of smartphone payment comes another way to scam. With just your name, credit card info, and a little Google snooping, a scammer can add your card to their own Apple Pay or Samsung Pay account.
How To Avoid Scams
The most fundamental way to protect yourself is to never give your info to any caller or email sender. Even if you suspect they’re legitimate, it’s better to hang up and contact the organization directly using confirmed contact info. Play it safe to prevent scam-related consumer debt.
The same principle applies to clicking links in email or on social media. Open a new window and navigate to the official website manually. Search Google for scams related to promotions you’re unsure of. Never submit info online without certainty of who is receiving it.
Finally, consistently monitoring your accounts and credit report is critical for preventing damage from scams. If you notice suspicious activity, contact your creditors and the credit reporting agencies immediately. For identity theft scams, use the FTC’s ID Theft Reporting Website to file a report and begin the recovery process.
Being vigilant to avoid scams is easy. Repairing damage once it’s done is hard.