National non-profit American Consumer Credit Counseling provides consumers with guidelines on how to effectively avoid costly scams.
Boston, MA – March 7, 2016
It is not unusual for everyday scam artists to come up with clever attempts to defraud millions of consumers out of their hard earned money. In order to prevent consumers from falling for these tricks, national non-profit American Consumer Credit Counseling has created a set of tips to help consumers avoid scams.
“Scammers often use the internet, phone, email and pop-ups in an illegal attempt to defraud millions of consumers,” said Steve Trumble, President and CEO of American Consumer Credit Counseling, which is located in Newton, MA. “Understanding all the different outlets and mechanism used by scammers, and how to best guard against fraud can help consumers avoid falling for common traps. In an effort to assist consumers, we have created a set of tips to help effectively avoid scams.”
According to the FTC Consumer Fraud Study, there were more than 2.58 million consumer complaints in 2014, a 16 percent increase from 2013. The most common complaint was fraud (60 percent), followed by identity theft (13 percent), debt in collection (11 percent) and imposter scams (11 percent). The most common method of contact by scammers was through the phone (54 percent) and e-mail (23 percent). A total of $1.7 billion was lost by reported victims as a result of those fraud complaints.
ACCC offers consumers guidelines on how to avoid scams:
- Read all statements – Read through all of your bank and credit statements to check for charges you are unfamiliar with. Be sure to report unrecognizable transactions immediately.
- Do not send money to strangers – Many scammers try to get consumers to wire money. If you are purchasing goods through an online auction, consider using a credit card that offers protection.
- Do not reply to messages asking for information – Messages from unknown sources asking for financial or personal information are tricks to try to get consumers to unveil sensitive information, also known as phishing.
- Be cautious when shopping via phone – Cellphones lack anti-virus software, which can leave consumers at risk when entering payment information. Shopping through retailers’ apps often provides more security.
- Do not share social security numbers online – Legitimate websites and businesses rarely ask consumers to provide social security numbers.
- Do not share personal identifying information over the phone – Never provide any personal information including social security numbers or bank information unless you have initiated the phone call and know who you are speaking with.
- Choose credit over debit – Most credit cards come with fraud protection, which enables consumers to get their money back if they fall victim to fraud.
- Use strong passwords – For secure accounts create passwords that are hard to guess and include multiple numbers and characters.
ACCC is a 501(c)3 organization that provides free credit counseling, bankruptcy counseling, and housing counseling to consumers nationwide in need of financial literacy education and money management. For more information, contact ACCC:
- For credit counseling, call 800-769-3571
- For bankruptcy counseling, call 866-826-6924
- For housing counseling, call 866-826-7180
- Or visit us online at ConsumerCredit.com
About American Consumer Credit Counseling
American Consumer Credit Counseling (ACCC) is a nonprofit credit counseling 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to empowering consumers to achieve financial management and debt relief through education, credit counseling, and debt management solutions. In order to help consumers reach their goal of debt relief, ACCC provides a range of free consumer personal finance resources on a variety of topics including budgeting, credit and debt management, student loans, youth and money, homeownership, identity theft, senior living and retirement. Consumers can use ACCC’s worksheets, videos, calculators, and blog articles to make the best possible decisions regarding their financial future. ACCC holds an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®). For more information or to access free financial education resources, log on to ConsumerCredit.com or visit TalkingCentsBlog.com.