How to Avoid Scams: Protect Your Money
Scammers are always coming up with new ways to trick innocent people into acting quickly and losing money. In 2021, cybercriminals stole 6.9 billion dollars, a record high1. Learn how to prevent financial scams by knowing what red flags to look for and how to protect yourself. Below are a few common types of financial cons.
Debt Collection Scams
What it is: Scammers prey on people with student loans and other debts to get them to pay money they don’t owe. If you do owe some sort of debt, it can be hard to know if a debt collector is legitimate or fraudulent, which is why so many people fall for this scam.
How to avoid this scam: Make sure a debt collector is legitimate before you hand over any money. If the debt collector demands immediate payment, doesn’t accept different forms of payment or tries to threaten you, chances are they’re a scammer.
What it is: Scammers pose as charities claiming to offer disaster relief, children’s aid or other support for a cause. You want to put your money toward a good cause, and scammers will take advantage of that by pretending to represent a reputable organization.
How to avoid this scam: Before you donate, use sites like CharityNavigator to check that the charity is legitimate. Some scammers will use names that sound like established charities to try and fool donors, so pay close attention to the spelling of a link or charity name.
What it is: Who doesn’t dream of winning the lottery? If you’re notified you won a prize, but didn’t ever enter a contest, be careful about accepting the prize. Scammers will take advantage of your desire to win money or a free vacation by offering up a prize but asking you to pay a fee before you can receive that prize. Once they have your money and you don’t hear back, you’ll eventually realize there never was a prize.
How to avoid this scam: You can’t win a contest you never entered, so if you don’t remember entering, it’s most likely a scam. You also won’t have to pay any money to claim a prize for a legitimate sweepstakes.
What it is: One of the most common types of scams is phishing. If you’ve ever received an email, text message or phone call from someone posing as a family member or business that turned out to be fake, you’ve experienced phishing. These scams trick you into clicking a harmful link or giving away sensitive information to scammers pretending to be your bank, post office or employer.
How to avoid this scam: Don’t click links or open attachments in suspicious emails or texts. If the message appears to come from someone you know, call to check with them before taking any action. It’s always better to be overly cautious than to fall into the trap of a scammer.
What To Do If You’ve Been Scammed
If you’ve sent money to a scammer, the first thing you’ll want to do is to contact your credit card company or bank to report a fraudulent transaction. They may be able to reverse the charge and get you your money back. Depending on the type of scam, you may also need to file a police report, freeze your credit or change your passwords.
Financial challenges can happen to anyone. If you’re in a situation where you need cash quickly, LendNation can help you find flexible lending options that meet your needs. Visit a store near you today or apply online now.