Consumer Fraud is on the Rise: 8 Tips on How to Protect Yourself

Do you think that you’re safe from fraud? You may assume that you’re safe; however, there are thousands of fraud cases reported annually. Some of the examples of the common cases of fraud will be discussed in this article, and you’ll learn more about how you should protect yourself.

Fraudsters Value Your Personal Information

You may not think that your personal information is not highly coveted. Why are cyber criminals interested in your personal information? The fraudsters usually look for your identity, and they will use it to ensure that there won’t be a lot of suspicions when they engage in criminal activities.

When you use details revolving around your personal identity, such as your first name, last name, bank information, or social insurance number, the fraudster will use the information to apply for credit cards and mortgage loans in your name. Your identity also comes in handy when creating a fake driver’s license or a passport.

How Will You Protect Your Personal Information?

You should be able to keep your information safe by limiting the amount of information that you share. Only provide your personal information when necessary. It may seem normal to provide your details as you create an account; however, you should understand that when the security of the website is breached, the information will fall into the wrong hands.

Ensure you’re vigilant about what you usually share on social media platforms. A scammer can use fraudulent messages, and they may appear trustworthy, and the main goal will be to obtain your personal information through phishing. When it comes to consumer fraud, phishing is a major issue, and it is carried out by phone or email.

For a targeted attack, a cybercriminal will use social media. The personal information you usually share on the account, such as your workplace, identity, interests, and birthday, will increase the chances of a phishing attack. The fraudster will carry out social engineering to gain access to the information they need from their target. To avoid such issues, ensure you’ve checked your personal settings. Also, ensure you’re aware of unknown profiles.

Tips on How You Can Protect Yourself from Consumer Fraud

Consumer fraud may be a pervasive problem; however, it doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to protect yourself. Some of the tips that you should utilize if you want to ensure your personal information is safe include:

  • Shred the Trash

Shred everything that has your name or a barcode. You should not leave the boarding pass in the trash in your hotel room. Ensure you’ve taken it home and shredded it. Such practices are customary even though you may be residing in a gated community when you believe that you’re completely safe.

  • Never Put Your Personal Information Online

Remember that when you put your personal information out there, the information can be used for nefarious purposes. Despite your best efforts to protect yourself using privacy settings, ensure you’ve thought twice before sharing different pieces of information. You should turn off geotagging on photos, and that way, you can ensure no one knows where you are at any given moment.

  • Check the Credit Report Frequently

If you’re traveling, ensure you’ve verified your credit report monthly. You can also make use of a credit monitoring service. It is also advisable to place alerts on your credit reports considering it is inexpensive. If a person tries to use your personal details to open an account, you’ll be notified via a phone call.

  • Your Credit Cards Should Have Spending Alerts

Different banks will alert you when your credit card is being used. The thieves will try to transact small amounts to determine whether you pay attention to your credit card transactions. After that, they will carry out a huge transaction.

  • Check Your Bills

You should review your account transactions and bank statements online. For the people without a budget, you should set up one such that you can control your spending easily. Also, you can identify some legitimate charges easily on each credit account.

  • Before Sharing Personal Information Online, Think Twice

If you’re asked to provide your social security number, inquire why such information is needed and how it will be used. After they’re done with the information, what will they do with it? They are privacy laws that determine whether personal information such as a driver’s license can be stored. For those with doubts, you can go ahead and make an inquiry or also request the data privacy policies.

  • Avoid Clicking Links Online

Similar to phone scams, online scams have become rampant, and they’re more sophisticated. Initially, a phishing email will be filled with typos, and the grammatical errors will be obvious. Nowadays, scams will go undetected easily. When you get an unexpected online request for different pieces of information, you should check the customer service number. You should also get in touch with the company.

  • Manage Your Passwords Well

There are different websites where you’ll be required to key in a password if you want to access your account information. You may find it hard to store and create passwords that will be used to unlock the data for fraudsters. Most consumers fail to key in a strong password that will puzzle the fraudsters. You should also be aware of the common types of consumer fraud.

Do You Require Financial Assistance?

If you have been a victim of consumer fraud and have some financial issues, you should look into different remedies that will help solve some of the issues you may be facing.

You should also be aware of the common types of consumer fraud, and they include:

  • Mortgage Fraud

The FBI has been dealing with numerous cases of mortgage fraud annually. Currently, the mortgage fraud cases are targeting distressed homeowners. The scams include loan modification schemes, foreclosure rescue schemes, and equity skimming. Mortgage and real estate professionals are the ones engaging in these types of fraud since they’ll be misusing the specialized knowledge they possess.

  • Identity Theft

Identity theft usually takes place when someone goes ahead to steal personal information comprising social security number, name, credit card information, and bank account number through data mining.

Final Thoughts

You now have a better understanding of the common types of consumer fraud. Also, you’re equipped with tips on preventing consumer fraud which means your personal information cannot be accessed easily now.

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