Imposters can come in all different shapes and sizes – from banks, real estate and utility companies, to supposed family members and government agencies. Here are some ways to recognize these types of scams before they happen to you.
Recognize pressure tactics
Fraudsters use pressure tactics to create a false sense of urgency. They may tell you they will disconnect your electricity, you’re late with a payment, or your benefits will be discontinued. Don’t fall for it. Financial institutions will never discuss that type of information from a cold call. Some fraudsters even change their caller ID to make it appear as if they are someone they are not.
USAA, for instance, has said they will never call you and then ask you for your one-time verification code, USAA PIN, password, or other personal identification details. If something feels strange, hang up immediately.
Go to the source
Confirm who you are dealing with by calling the number on the back of your card or by visiting what you know is an official website – or by verifying the email address with the sender.
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is
Beware of anyone promising you high returns, low risk and “golden” opportunities. Take the time to ask questions that can keep you from getting scammed from common job and opportunity scams if you are in the market for a new job, investment or business opportunity.
Avoid grandparent scams
If someone claims to be a family member, verify with that family member by calling them directly. If you think your grandchild needs help, get in touch with them directly, not by email, social media or text, or call their parents before sending money unintentionally to a scammer.
Traditional passwords aren’t secure enough
Use the strongest authentication options provided everywhere they are offered, especially with banks, phone and email providers. If you are on a shared or public device, you should not save passwords or login details.
Never share your passwords or PIN
Keep your passwords and PINs a secret, even from close friends, family and teammates. It is never a good idea to share your login information.
Never send money to someone you don’t know in real life, especially using gift cards or a third-party app like Zelle®, Cash App, etc. Also, monitor your accounts regularly, respond to fraud alerts and report unauthorized transactions promptly.