New Year’s Resolution: A 2020 Vision to Spot Scammers
There’s no getting around it: Scams continue to evolve every year. The bad guys keep finding fresh ways to exploit good people, often using new technologies in their criminal deeds.
Elder fraud. Identity theft. Financial exploitation. They all can jeopardize a lifetime of savings. But safeguards exist, and you can take important steps to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Here are just three, taken from a longer list by the Federal Trade Commission:
Don’t trust Caller ID. Scammers are using technology to create fake names when they call you up – names you might trust, like a government agency. Requests for money or your personal information are usually red flags and you should hang up. If you really believe the call is legitimate, try to verify the number independently and then call back.
Search online for warning signs. When you have questions about a company or product, you can do an internet search that includes words like “scam,” “complaint” or “review.” You also can search for phrases like “IRS call”—a popular ruse used by crooks. If you have doubts about a phone number, check it out online.
Beware of “free” trial offers. We all get pitches to sign up for products at little or no initial cost. But make sure to read the fine print and ask questions, because rates sometimes soar after an initial period expires. Make sure you understand the cancellation policy, and review your monthly financial statements with care.
If you’re interested in news about scams, sign up for FTC Consumer Alerts, which cover fraud trends in a broad range of areas. Beyond that, a service such as EverSafe monitors bank and investment accounts, credit cards and credit data, and provides ongoing protection against fraud, scams and financial exploitation.