Consumer fraud is a serious issue in today’s world. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are more than 23 million cases of consumer fraud each year in the United States alone.
To protect yourself from this dangerous crime, you have to know what it is and how it operates. This article will go through the different categories of fraud that exist and offer tips on how you can avoid them.
Types of Consumer Fraud
The following are the most common types of consumer fraud:
Identity Theft: Identity theft is the most common type of fraud in the world. According to recent reports, identity theft cases have risen by 700 percent over the past decade and affect millions of people, particularly those who are 55 years and older. Identity theft is mostly used for financial gain or personal information, such as account numbers and credit cards.
Fraudulent Telemarketing: This type of scam is one that most people will be familiar with. It usually involves some type of “free” offer that you can’t refuse. The salesperson will tell you that they are representing a reputable organization, but they aren’t. These types of scams come in all flavors, and it can be difficult to pin down exactly which one you’re dealing with.
Mail fraud: This is another type of traditional scam that many people are familiar with. It consists of a letter or email that promises you something in exchange for payment. The only problem is that the company never sends anything, so you’re left holding the bag with no product and a huge bill. Most people typically fall victim to this type of mail order or telephone scam.
Overpayment Scam: This scam involves a person who is trying to sell a product or service. A regular customer will contact the seller to purchase an item at a discounted price. The problem is that they will pay with an overpayment check or money order, which ends up being fraudulent. The seller sends the product and waits for the check to clear, only to find out that it was no good and they’re now out the product and money.
Tax-Deferred Investment Scam: This type of scam usually relates to some type of investment plan that promises tax deductions but then takes all or most of your investments because of a clerical error or some other reason. These types of scams are usually isolated to one individual or a small group, so they will disappear quickly.
Tips for Avoiding Consumer Fraud
If you want to keep your belongings and finances safe from identity theft, mail fraud, and other types of consumer scams, you need to take precautions. The following are some tips that can help:
Investigate any suspicious attempts by telemarketers to talk you into buying products or signing up for programs. If someone is trying something that just doesn’t seem right to you, don’t do it. No reputable business offers the types of things these scams promise.
Don’t open unsolicited emails. These are almost always phishing scams, and they can infect your computer with viruses that can expose your personal information.
Never wire transfer any money to people you don’t know. Wiring money is the same as sending cash, and it’s impossible to recover if someone takes it from you. If you are sending a friend or family member money, take precautions to make sure that it gets there without being stolen by others. Use only reliable money wires, such as MoneyGram or Western Union. Never use an unknown service in an email or over the phone when wiring any funds.
Don’t give out your Social Security number over the phone or in an email. These are private numbers and should only be used for identification.
If you are selling a product online, never give out your credit card number. These sites will have security measures in place to ensure that your card information is safe and secure. If you don’t trust them, don’t use them at all.
Only use reputable companies to handle your tax-deferred investments. Research their reputation as well as their credentials. Never give out any personal information to an unknown source. But with credible companies such as fraud at Parker & Waichman consider all your consumer fraud sorted.
These are just a few of the tips that you can use to keep yourself safe from consumer fraud. Knowledge is power, so the more you know about the different types of scams that exist, the easier it will be for you to protect yourself from them. You can learn about other types of fraud by doing a simple Internet search.
You’ve heard it before; top scams are on the rise. Consumer fraud is becoming more common, and scams like telemarketing, identity theft, and fraudulent crowdfunding campaigns aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You must take precautionary steps to protect yourself from these predators that could drain your wallet and your peace of mind. Here are a few tips to keep in mind as you go about your daily life.
Don’t ignore any call, text message, email, or social media post (including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) that contains a solicitation or request for action. Scams often operate by hiding behind such requests. The best way to avoid falling victims is to prevent them from getting started in the first place.
Stay on top of your credit reports and know what’s going on with them. These reports contain important information that can help you protect and manage your financial affairs. Plus, they are an important source of information for identity thieves. You should also periodically review your credit reports so that you can be aware of any changes or errors.
Try to avoid using passwords and similar information that could be used to commit identity theft. If you have trouble remembering passwords, you can consider using a password manager or software application to store your passwords and other personal details, such as Social Security numbers. You should also regularly change your passwords so that hackers can’t use the same one again and again to steal your identity.
Place special emphasis on your credit reports because they are the first place identity thieves try to steal information from you. Even if you don’t see other fraudulent activity, a thief may already have access to your credit reports. Your credit report contains information about everything that’s been reported about you — for example, an inquiry into your background or an unpaid bill — and it can be accessed by anyone who wants to verify your identity. This can include even a thief who steals just one piece of personal information, such as your name or date of birth. By utilizing free annual credit reports and monitoring them, you can stay safe from identity thieves.
Simple remedies, such as common sense, are often the best prevention tools. Always be aware of your surroundings and don’t give out personal information to strangers on the phone or online. If you think something is too good to be true, it probably is.
You’ve heard it before; top scams are on the rise. Consumer fraud is becoming more common, and scams like telemarketing, identity theft, and fraudulent crowdfunding campaigns aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You must take precautionary steps to protect yourself from these predators that could drain your wallet and your peace of mind.