Nearly 90% of American adults are confident they can detect and prevent a scam. And yet, 27% say they have been a victim at some point. The numbers don’t add up. Let’s dive into some of the most common things that trip up even the tech-savviest among us and kick scammers to the curb. (Courtesy Kim Komando Blog 12/10/2023)
The Scam Solution
Problem #1: In a City Survey: 55% say their financial institutions are a trusted fraud and scam prevention authority. But only two-thirds routinely check their bank accounts and credit scores for shady activity. OK, that means one-third of the walking do not do this basic adulting task.
Fix: Sign up for fraud alerts that come by text or email. You can do this in your bank’s app or through your online account. It is a no-brainer. If your bank offers free credit monitoring, sign up for that, too. If not, try a free service like Credit Karma.
Problem #2: Americans polled say they are familiar with standard scams like phishing (54%) and bank impersonation (51%). OK, great. However, 13% could not identify any of the 14 common scams presented to them in the survey. Ouch.
Fix: Spotting a scammer isn’t rocket science (thank goodness). Here are four simple signs to look for from the FTC. Scammers …
Pretend to be from an organization you know.
Say there is a problem or a prize.
Pressure you to act immediately.
Tell you to pay in a specific way.
Problem #3: 71% of adults who fell victim to a scam say it did a number on their overall financial health. No kidding. That might include a setback in savings goals, deeper debt and a lowered credit score.
Fix: The key to proper damage control? Act right away. If you paid a scammer, do not give them more money. Gather all the information you can (screenshots rock for this), then block the crook from communicating with you further. File a report with your local police department and at tips.FBI.gov.
“I gave them my Social Security number.” Go to IdentityTheft.gov for the next steps, including how to monitor your credit.
“They stole my bank account or credit card information.” Immediately contact your bank or credit card issuer and report all fraudulent activity.
“My computer was hacked.” Update your security software, run a scan and delete anything it identifies as a problem. Change all your passwords and set up 2FA.
“I gave someone who texted me my DOB.” Freeze your credit. The steps are here.