According to data from the FTC, consumers lost nearly $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022. The highest reported loss amount came from investment scams and imposter scams. National Fraud Awareness Week, taking place from November 12th through 18th, is an annual event meant to promote anti-fraud awareness and education in hopes of minimizing the impact of fraud. This week serves as a reminder that fraud can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. Awareness is the first line of defense against fraud, and we are here to help you sharpen your fraud detection skills. Look out for the following fraud warning signs to protect yourself and your finances.
Unexpected Requests & Suspicious Contacts
One of the most prominent fraud warning signs is receiving unsolicited requests for your personal information. These requests can come through emails, phone calls, text messages, and more. The fraudsters will ask for sensitive personal data such as your Social Security number, credit card details, or passwords while posing as trusted individuals or organizations. They frequently use fake names, profiles, or email addresses to deceive fraud victims. Be wary of these requests and be sure to verify the legitimacy of any suspicious or unverified contacts before sharing your information with them or completing any financial transactions.
Payment in Unusual Forms
Is someone asking you for an unusual form of payment? These odd methods are more difficult to trace, and therefore a fraudster favorite:
- Gift cards
- Wire transfers
Always verify the legitimacy of requests for financial transactions, especially from unknown and unverified sources.
Too Good to Be True Offers
Messages promising extraordinary financial gains, immense discounts, or exclusive limited-time opportunities should be handled with caution. If you think an offer is too good to be true, it probably is. Fraudsters will try to lure you with these rewards, so carefully evaluate the offer before taking their bait. Remember, legitimate opportunities typically take time and effort before experiencing benefits and rarely promise instant and effortless wealth.
Urgent or High-Pressure Tactics
Urgent and high-pressure tactics are a common way fraudsters manipulate their victims. Limited time offers, immediate financial decisions, and threatening messages are all fraud warning signs. It is important to be cautious when someone tries to push you to make quick and financially significant choices without allowing time for proper consideration. If the source is legitimate, they will likely provide time to evaluate your options and make a decision best for you.
Unusual Account Activity
A crucial part of detecting fraud is closely monitoring your financial accounts. Keep an eye out for any unusual or unauthorized transactions on your bank and credit card statements. If you spot unfamiliar account activity, promptly report the incident to your financial institution as it could be a clear indication of fraudulent activity.
Another piece of unusual activity to look out for is any notifications of unexpected changes to your account information such as your passwords, email addresses, or contact details. Fraudsters may attempt to take control of your accounts by altering this information, so it is important to investigate promptly. Confirm any changes with the respective organization through a verified contact method when investigating.
Poorly Designed or Unprofessional Communications
Generally speaking, fraudsters are not investing in the aesthetics of their communications. If you receive a poorly designed or unprofessional email, document, or website, proceed with caution as it can be a fraud warning sign. Look out for mistakes in spelling and grammar, too. Legitimate organizations will typically maintain a professional, polished, and proofread online presence, so evaluate the quality of the materials you receive to help determine their legitimacy.
Remember, awareness is the key to fraud prevention, and it is a collective effort to educate. If you still have questions about spotting fraud warning signs, contact Blakely Financial today. We are happy to help you protect your finances.