How to Prevent Financial Fraud
When you’ve worked hard for your money, you don’t want to lose it to a scam. People who experience financial fraud may feel helpless and defenseless. They might feel as if the whole world is out to get them.
The good news is, you can take a number of steps to greatly reduce the risk of becoming a victim of financial fraud. Read this guide for top tips on how to prevent financial fraud from affecting you and your loved ones.
8 Ways to Prevent Financial Fraud
If you’re wondering how to prevent financial fraud, take the time to go through these tips to ensure you won’t be an easy target:
1. Be Aware
People may call you or leave automated voice messages pretending to be a person of authority while trying to get your personal information. More likely, you won’t hear or see the scammer as they are “phishing” for your usernames and passwords without you knowing it.
2. Ask Questions
If something feels suspicious, it probably is. A scammer may show up on your doorstep, call you, email you, or engage you in a chat messaging service. Watch out for red flags and don’t be afraid to ask questions. End the interaction as soon as you feel uncomfortable.
3. Don’t Easily Give Out Sensitive Information
Your credit union or bank has likely sent you a message saying, “We will never ask for your account details on the phone or via email.” So, if a person or organization does ask for these details during a conversation or chat, that is a red flag. Hang up immediately.
4. Don’t Open Unsolicited Emails
Emails and pop-ups on websites can contain viruses that will infect your computer with malware. They’re also a common way for scammers to ask for your personal information in a format that looks genuine.
If an email comes from an unknown source, don’t open it. If you think it looks legit and you open it but then change your mind, be sure not to click on any links. Report the email as SPAM.
5. Don’t Fill Out Unfamiliar Forms
If you’re on a website applying for a service or making a purchase and you start to feel as if you’re being asked for more than the usual information, stop. Close the site and search the organization’s name. You may find other people have already reported being a victim of the same scam.
6. Don’t Answer Unfamiliar Phone Numbers
Nowadays, we have a caller ID to show which of our trusted contacts are calling. If you’re unsure whether a number is legit, let the call go to voicemail and you can always call back if it turns out to be genuine.
Note: Freedom Credit Union text alerts will always come from 91937 and automated phone calls will come from 888-918-7313. So be sure to save these numbers to your phone.
7. Report Missing Cards, IDs, Suspicious Activity
Contact your credit union, bank, and any other relevant authorities as soon as you notice your card(s) has gone missing, whether stolen or lost. Report all suspicious transactions on your statements.
Likewise, any unsolicited email, phone call, or suspicious contact should be reported online to the Federal Trade Commission, or by phone at 1-877-IDTHEFT.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Get in touch with a Freedom Credit Union member service representative at 215-612-5900 if you suspect you may be a victim of financial fraud.
Scams to Watch Out For to Prevent Financial Fraud
There are many ways a scammer could catch you off guard. Here are some common scams you should be aware of so you can avoid them:
- Banking Scams. Pretending to be a financial institution, they may send you an unsolicited check or use an email to phish for your details and make withdrawals.
- Covid-19 Fraud. Using vaccine information or stimulus checks as a reason to get your details and commit identity theft.
- Unemployment Fraud. Trying to access your social security details to claim benefits on your behalf. Contact the State’s unemployment department.
- Telephone Scams. Making false promises about products, investments, and other opportunities to get your information.
- Census Scams. Seeking your household information to commit identity theft.
- Government Grant Scams. Pretending to offer you money on behalf of the government in exchange for your personal information.
- Investment Scams, Ponzi Schemes, and Pyramid Schemes. Offering you minimum investment for a maximum profit, but leaving you with nothing.
- Charity Scams. Asking for donations, which they keep for themselves.
- Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams. Claiming you’ve won a prize and need to provide your details to redeem it.
- IRS Scams. Beware of websites offering to give you a loan on your upcoming tax return, or callers claiming to be IRS agents claiming you will be arrested if you don’t provide immediate payment information over the phone.
The Bottom Line on Preventing Financial Fraud
If you’re still concerned about how to prevent financial fraud, one of the best things you can do is keep a close eye on all your financial activity.
Here’s how you sign up for fraud alerts from Freedom Credit Union:
- Log in to your online or mobile banking account portal to make changes to your address, email, or phone number. This will save giving your details via phone or email.
- You can change, add, or delete your contact information using the provided forms at any time.
- You can opt in or out of the alert system at any time using mobile or online banking platforms. Or just text STOP to the phone number sending the alerts.
- Freedom Credit Union text alerts will always come from 91937 and automated phone calls will come from 888-918-7313.
Banking with a trusted credit union that serves your community is a great way to stay safe in the fast-moving world of scamming and financial fraud.
To make the most of your credit union experience, find out more about Freedom Credit Unions’ GreenPath financial counseling. You can sign up for free sessions by phone or online. Find out more by clicking below!