Fraud and Scams
May 7, 2021
There is never a bad time to brush up on your knowledge of fraud and scams, as cybercriminals routinely discover new ways to prey on victims. We have provided four articles from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to help you stay informed of some of the most common tactics pertaining to fraud, phishing scams, and identity theft.
The FDIC created a short, four-question quiz to test how well you can spot fraud and scams. Each question provides insight on why the scenario is likely or unlikely to be a fraud or scam, as well as steps you can take to make sure you do not fall victim to these predatory messages. One noticeable takeaway from the quiz is that fraudsters and scammers will use multiple types of communication, including text messages, emails, the internet, and social media, among others, to reach victims.
After you take the quiz, you can find out more about which measures to take to protect yourself from fraud and scams in this article from the CFPB. Here are a few ways you can be proactive:
- Avoid sharing passwords or account numbers associated with credit cards or Social Security
- Don’t pay up front for a promised prize. An example is if you are asked to pay taxes or fees before you can receive the prize
- Compare prices and collect more information after receiving sales pitches
- Ask yourself if something sounds too good to be true
- Be cautious of deals that are advertised as “good for today only”
- Put your number on the National Do Not Call Registry at www.donotcall.gov or call 888-382-1222
Phishing is another tactic used by cybercriminals. Emails and text messages are the most common medium used to phish victims into giving up their personal information, such as passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. Be sure to pay close attention to the sender’s email address before you click on email links and attachments, as phishers often disguise themselves as companies you know and trust. Four steps you can take to protect yourself include using security software, setting up automatic updates on your phone, using multi-factor authentication, and backing up your data. The FTC provides helpful advice on how to recognize phishing, how to protect yourself from phishing attacks, what to do if you suspect a phishing attack, what to do if you responded to a phishing email, and how to report phishing.
The CFPB identifies steps you should take to protect yourself if you think you have been a victim of identity theft. One step is to contact the three nationwide credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, and place an initial fraud alert on your credit report. This will be kept on file for one year. If your identity has been stolen and you have filed an identity theft report, you can place an extended alert, which will last for seven years. Another option is to place a security freeze – also known as a credit freeze – on your credit report. This will prevent new creditors from accessing your credit file and others from opening accounts in your name until you lift the freeze. You can freeze and unfreeze for free with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.