July 25th, 2017

Don't be a victim of fraud.

When it comes to fraud and scams, you can always assume that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Anyone can become a victim of fraud but taking precautions can make a big difference.  Here are a few tips to avoid falling victim to several common scams:

Don’t wire money to strangers, to sellers who insist on wire transfers for payment, or to anyone who claims to be a relative or friend in an emergency who wants to keep the request a secret.

Con artists often insist that people wire money, or send funds immediately using companies like Western Union, because it’s nearly impossible to reverse the transaction or trace the money. Also, many “secret shopper” job offers are scams to get you to deposit their bad check and send to them good funds.  Always allow checks received to clear your account first, usually five business days.

If you see charges you don’t recognize or didn’t okay, contact your bank, card issuer, or other creditor immediately.

Dishonest merchants bill you for monthly “membership fees” and other goods or services without your authorization.

If someone contacts you with low-risk, high-return investment opportunities, stay away.

When you hear pitches that insist you act now, that guarantee big profits, that promise little or no financial risk, or that demand that you send cash immediately, report them at ftc.gov.

Only do business online with companies with which you are familiar.

Never send cash or wire funds before you receive your items. It’s best to use payment protected plans such as credit cards or online pay services such as PayPal.

Do not be tempted to play a foreign lottery – it is actually illegal.

Messages that tout your chances of winning a foreign lottery, or messages that claim you’ve already won, can be tempting. Inevitably, you have to pay “taxes,” “fees,” or “customs duties” to collect your prize. If you must send money to collect, you haven’t won anything. And if you send any money, you will lose it. You won’t get any money back, either, regardless of promises or guarantees.

If you have any questions or concerns about the legitimacy of an offer or business, contact Cornerstone at 615-385-6866.

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