Tips to protect yourself from fraud

Swiss America wants to continue to help consumers protect themselves from all investment scams and frauds. This article gives several tips on how investors can protect themselves from frauds and scam artists and also educates them on the different types of frauds and scam artists out there.

Updated: April 9, 2012 11:27PM
From the Federal Citizen Information Center
ElmLeaves

You can’t control whether someone is going to try to scam you, but there are ways to be ready to protect your assets, money and personal information.

Use tips from the Federal Citizen Information Center to educate yourself about fraud and scams.

Fraud is defined as wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. There are many different types of fraud to be aware of, including:

Contest and Lottery scams: Often scammers will email or call you saying you have won a large prize like cash or a trip. You should never have to pay or give account information when you win a prize. Make sure you know the signs of contest and lottery scams, so you don’t fall prey to them.

Charity fraud: Organizations around the globe ask for donations to help individuals in need, but make sure to check the legitimacy of the organization before you donate to avoid charity fraud. Use www.charitynavigator.org to verify any charity before you donate.

Financial scams: All types of fraud can severely impact your life, but banking fraud gives people access to your financial accounts and investments. Learn how to spot banking and investment fraud before you fall for someone’s tricks.

Business fraud: One of the most common frauds against businesses is being billed for services or products you never ordered. The Federal Trade Commission recommends tips, including knowing that it’s your right to keep and not pay for merchandise you didn’t order. Read your invoices carefully and train your staff on how the scams work, so they can spot scammers.

Identity theft: Make sure to monitor your accounts regularly for any unknown activity. If you think your identity has been stolen, contact the FTC at its ID Theft Hotline, 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). To report fraud, you can use the FTC’s Online Complaint Assistant. You can also learn how to file a complaint from the Consumer Action Handbook.

By phone or online, if a stranger asks for your personal information, including your credit card, bank account or Social Security numbers, don’t let him intimidate you into giving it or into making a quick buying decision.

Falling for a scam can turn your whole world — and your bank account — upside down. Get prepared now so you’ll be protected later.

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