Protecting Yourself from Fraud

Every year, fraudsters and identity thieves steal billions of dollars from unsuspecting individuals. According to data from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), reported losses to fraud exceeded $10 billion in 2023 alone, marking a 14% increase from the previous year.

Consumers reported staggering losses of over $4.6 billion – yes billion! – to investment scams, and nearly $2.7 billion from imposter scams. These scams include instances of business and government impersonation. Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, emphasized, “Digital tools are making it increasingly convenient for scammers to target hard-working Americans.”

Here are some of the most prevalent scams highlighted by the FTC:

Imposter Scams:
Imposters often pose as familiar figures like family members, friends, representatives from government agencies such as the National Credit Union Association (NCUA), IRS, or Social Security Administration, tech support entities, or businesses you frequently engage with. They aim to gain your trust to steal personal information, request purchases of gift cards, digital currency, or initiate money transfers.

Government agencies, including the NCUA, do not solicit money or personal/financial information over the phone. If uncertain about the authenticity of a caller, DO NOT share any information or send money. Instead, end the call and verify the caller’s identity by contacting the organization directly.

Online Shopping Scams:
Online shoppers fall prey to various scams, ranging from non-delivery of products despite payment to losing money to counterfeit websites and applications. Scammers create fake websites mirroring those of prominent retailers to steal money and payment details without fulfilling orders.

Before making a purchase, review refund and return policies. In cases of undelivered orders or denied refund requests, dispute the charges. Using a credit card for online transactions can streamline the dispute resolution process. Exercise caution with suspicious websites and apps, opting for official retailer platforms that likely offer enhanced security measures. Regularly monitor credit and debit card transactions to promptly detect unauthorized purchases or withdrawals indicative of fraudulent activity.

Phishing:
Phishing entails scammers sending deceptive emails, texts, or social media messages masquerading as legitimate businesses. These communications prompt recipients to divulge sensitive information by directing them to counterfeit websites resembling authentic ones. Once accessed, victims may be coerced into providing personal data such as Social Security numbers, login credentials, mother’s maiden names, or birthplaces. Subsequently, scammers exploit this information to pilfer funds or sell it to other malicious actors.

Legitimate businesses and financial institutions will never call you for account verification or sensitive information. Avoid clicking links embedded in unsolicited emails or messages. If uncertain about the legitimacy of a contact you can verify by reaching out to the business or visiting its official website. Never disclose personal or sensitive information in response to unsolicited requests from the phone or internet.

If you suspect fraudulent activity on your account, CALL US IMMEDIATELY 541-259-1235.

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