May 24

Avoiding Financial Scams and Identity Theft Slams

by Rockbridge Team

Young or old, wealthy or poor, online or in person … Nobody is immune from financial scams and identity theft slams. No matter who you are or how well-informed you may be, the bad guys are out there, daily devising new tricks for every fraud we fix.

Who Are They? Fraudsters and Thieves

What Do They Want? Your Money and Your Life

Some of your most treasured personal information includes:

How Will They Get It? However They Can!

Criminals come in all shapes and sizes, and will use anything and everything that might work:

What Should You Look For? Ten Red Flags

Criminal techniques may be new-fangled, but the tactics – the red flags to look for – are mostly unchanged. Whether online, in the mail, on the phone or in person, be on extra alert whenever:

  1. An offer sounds too good to be true.
  2. A stranger wants to be your real or virtual best friend.
  3. Someone you know is behaving oddly, especially via email or phone. (This may mean it’s an identity thief, posing as someone you know.)
  4. Someone claiming to represent a government agency, financial or legal firm, police department or other authority contacts you out of the blue, demanding money or information.
  5. You’re feeling pressured or tricked into responding RIGHT AWAY to a threat, a temptation or a curiosity.
  6. You’re prioritizing easy access over solid security (weak or absent locks and passwords).
  7. You’re sharing personal information in a public venue (including social media).
  8. Facts or figures aren’t adding up; bank statements, reports or other info is missing entirely.
  9. Your defenses are down: You’re ill, injured, grieving, experiencing dementia or feeling blue.
  10. Your gut feel is warning you: Something seems off.

 

An Action Plan (Hint: It’s a Lot Like Evidence-Based Investing)

The more of these sorts of alarm bells are sounding off, the more suspicious you should be. What then? The hardest part may be deciding where to begin. We recommend approaching your personal security the same way you approach investing: Instead of feeling you must immediately chase every defensive action out there, start with a plan.

What Else Can You Do? Quite a Lot!

While criminals are forever finding new ways to foil our defenses, there are still plenty of sensible steps you can take to protect yourself and your money.

Online Protection

Suspicious Phone Calls

Credit and Records Management

Personal Security

What If They Succeed? Act Promptly

If you believe you’ve been exposed to identity theft or financial fraud, time is of the essence.

 

 

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