Fraud has gone high tech, and the schemes to steal your money and information seemingly grow by the minute. Therefore, staying safe is the challenge of a lifetime. Here are some basic tips to follow to keep yourself and your family safe at every stage.
Protecting Young Children
• Monitor/freeze the credit of a child – Research services that monitor credit by using the child’s Social Security Number.
• If you choose to make your teen an authorized signer to build credit, monitor closely. Otherwise, freeze their credit as you would with children.
• Debit card risk – Monitor card use closely, especially online. Don’t share pin numbers and don’t carry passwords with you. Know the websites your teen uses (including shopping) and make sure they are legit. Remember, you can take control at any stage of life with Regions LockIt©.
• Social media scams – Be wary of fast cash opportunities or any request to pay funds by electronic payment. Only interact with people you know. Also, don’t share personal information – fraudsters can easily glean information and use it for more nefarious purposes, like accessing your account.
• Monitor online banking activity through alerts – Most banks make it easy to lock down your account. Make sure you know how.
• Deals too good to be true are just that – Book scams are common. So is a fake business asking for an electronic cash payment up front. If a deal sounds unbelievable … well, it is.
• Unknown websites – This is true on all occasions, but especially when looking to make a purchase. Make sure the website you want to use is secure. One easy step to take: check for reviews online. All subpar reviews (or none at all) usually serve as a good tipoff that something’s amiss.
• Phishing, Vishing and Smishing – Be aware of these common (and, unfortunately) successful scams using email, phone calls or texts to get your information.
• Job victim scams – Congrats! That job you never applied for is yours! And the bonus is, too. Be smart. Don’t deposit the check they offer and send your new potential employer the money back through a transfer. If you’re applying to a legitimate company, they won’t reach out to you with a generic email or text message.
• Social Media scams – The simplest advice is to interact with people you know, or friends of friends. When someone asks for money, shut them down and block them.
• The puppy scam – Someone promises you a puppy, and all you have do is send them money first. Look at that cute face. Who could resist, right? Well, you can. Make sure you have the pet in hand before paying. That goes for big purchases, as well.
• Owning a business – Make sure your business is secure and your software is updated by practicing basic cyber hygiene.
• Business email compromise – Very smart, successful people fall for these scams, so learn how fraudsters intend to take advantage.
• The refund/reversal scam – You’re contacted to let you know, “Oops, you’ve overpaid. Please refund the difference now.” Legitimate companies don’t work that way.
• Phishing – Seniors are even more susceptible to these scams, often because of a lack of awareness around digital communication. An email about social security or medical benefits warning that accounts will be frozen if immediate action is taken prey on the fear of anyone on a fixed income.
• Knowledge is your best weapon – Learn about the biggest scams and the right steps to take to stay safe.
• Urgency is a red flag warning – A popular scam, for example, has someone calling about a family member or friend who is in jail – or in serious trouble – and needs cash to resolve this. Calmly ask where they are, then search the number yourself, call and verify the information before acting. Better yet, if it’s a grandchild in trouble, call the parents to verify. A definite red flag: a scammer will tell you not to contact them because it will lead to more trouble at home.
• New payment methods – Another red flag. Instead of paying the way you normally would, someone asks you to pay through a peer-to-peer transfer, gift card or even cryptocurrency. Legitimate businesses don’t do that.