Scams and Identity Theft Cost Consumers Billions
In all likelihood, either you or someone you know has fallen victim to some kind of scam that has either resulted in the loss of money, or even worse, identify theft. While there is no way to put an end to the attempts of criminals to take advantage of consumers, playing it smart when it comes to scams can go a long way towards minimizing the risk that you or someone you know will fall victim to one of them. Here are a few tips:
- Any transaction in which you receive a check or cashier’s check for payment and are requested to return a portion of the funds to the originator of the check, is suspicious and may be a scam. The check received is subject to collection and can be rejected by the paying bank, while funds you withdraw are your real money. Scams of this type can include selling merchandise online, sweepstakes winnings, and even employment and dating scams.
- Receiving an email in which you are informed a friend or relative is in a tough spot, usually out of the country and in jail, and needs money to be released should be carefully examined for a scam.
- When using any ATM or gas pump, before sliding your card, literally pull on the slot where you insert your card to make sure it is real. If it comes off the machine, do not slide your card and call police immediately. Skimming devices look very realistic, and attach to the machines to capture your card information while you slide your card. Do not complete a transaction if a stranger is standing nearby. They could be watching you enter your PIN number. When your transaction is complete, leave the area immediately.
- Be very cautious if allowing any person or company remote access to your computer. Once this access is given, they may install key loggers, or snoop around your computer for your sensitive information, such as passwords, account numbers etc.
- Do not leave purse, wallet or checkbook in plain view in your car. Thieves may break in, using these items later in an attempt to access your accounts.
Finally, having identity theft protection, like the tools provided with Cornerstone’s Premier Checking, not only helps protect you, but will provide assistance should you be unfortunate enough to have your identity stolen.