Friday, October 25, 2013

Advice from Local Fraud Experts on How to Protect Your Money and Information

This past Wednesday, AARP held its annual Scam Jam to a sold out crowd at the Museum of Flight in Seattle.

Scam Jam is an educational event that invites local fraud experts to report on the latest scams they are seeing and offer tips for preventing fraud.

Below are some of the best tips offered this year:

Treat Your Personal Information like Cash – Don’t Give It to Everyone That Asks
If someone is asking for your Social Security Number or other identifying information, think carefully before handing it over.

Unsolicited Free Gifts and Offers Are Almost Always Not Free
Promises of free airline tickets or gift cards almost always come with a catch. If it’s not just an outright scam, companies use promises of free gifts to entice people into high pressure sales seminars.

Watch for Investment Pitches that Target Your Emotions
Scam artists go after your emotions when making their pitch. They will try to get you excited about a product or pull your emotional strings to get you to believe in what they are selling. Think about how you feel when you first fall in love, scam artists are targeting that some emotional feeling.

Develop a Refusal Script Ready for Unwanted Telephone Calls
Stop telemarketers right in the tracks by developing a refusal script for when they call. It could be something is simple as: “Now is not a good time” [click].

Set Up Passwords On Your Mobile Technology
Not setting up passwords on your mobile technology is like leaving your front door unlocked. Set up device passwords and lockouts to prevent unauthorized access.

Don’t Friend People on Facebook You Have Never Met
Protect yourself and your information by making it a policy to not friend people on Facebook you have never met in real life.

Never Send Your Social Security or Credit Card Numbers via Email
Your financial institution and legitimate companies should never ask you to send your credit card or social security numbers via email. If you ever have questions about a request for such information, contact your financial institution or company directly.

Ask and Check – When Purchasing Investments
Before purchasing an investment, ask lots of questions and do your research. Check to make sure the individual selling the investment and the product is properly registered with the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions by calling 1-877-RING DFI.

Backup Your Data
Setup a system for backing up the data on your computer and mobile devices. That way if you lose a device, you have access to your important documents, photos, etc.

If You See Something Suspicious Report It
If you see an email or investment offer that you think is fraudulent, report it to authorities. You can report fraud to the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions by emailing webguy@dfi.wa.gov or calling 1-877-RING DFI.