In financial crimes, thieves and scammers deceive victims in an effort to take their cash, credit, identity or assets. When a victim's money and/or assets are taken, it is often difficult to track scammers (many are out of the state or country) and recover property. Read about the various deceptive methods being used by criminals below so you can protect yourself or a loved one from becoming a victim of financial crimes.
- Door-to-door solication (scammer receives payment before little or no work is done)
- High-pressure sales tactics (seller pushes for immediate decision)
- Verbal agreements (you should demand that a written contract be provided prior to any payment or work is done)
- Only donate to charities that you know; make check or money order payable to the charity - not an individual; do not give cash
- Visit www.give.org to verify whether a charity is legitimate
- Usually occurs over the phone or by mail
- Be skeptical if the caller tells you that they are calling to offer you an opportunity that sounds too good to be true. Once the scammer has your money, the company disappears or goes out of business.
- Remember...if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!
- You cannot win a lottery unless you have entered it
- You never have to pay prior to collecting winnings from a legitimate lottery (taxes are collected after you receive winnings)
- If you hold the winning ticket, YOU notify the lottery - they DO NOT notify you.
- NEVER provide personal information or wire money to a company or person you do not know.
The "Grandparent" Scam
- Scammers call a grandparent and identify themselves as a grandchild or loved one in need of money right away due to a hardship (stuck in jail, broken down car, stuck in a foreign country)
- Never wire money - it is difficult to get back
- Resist the urge to act immediately
- Ask the caller some questions a stranger could never answer
- Hang up, then call the loved one at a number you know to be valid
- NEVER provide personal information such as your Social Security Number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers) to unverified sources
- Your bank should NEVER call you requesting your Social Security Number, account number, etc.
- Shred paperwork containing personal or financial information
- Only carry the credit cards you need; monitor your statements and balances regularly
- Don't carry your Social Security card with you.
- Carry your wallet and/or purse securely when you are out and about.
- Keep your computer secure by using firewalls and anti-virus software.
- Be wary of clicking on links in e-mails; instead, type in the web address if it is familiar to you
- Check your credit report at least annually