When the pandemic took over everything normal about life almost everything in life went virtual. Kids’ schools, grocery shopping, summer camps, banking, medical visits are only to name some. However, what also happened along this shift is that your information was exposed everywhere more often and more frequently. This made a perfect background for cybercriminals to commit fraud. Identity fraud, financial fraud are the main ways these criminals may attack you. You need to understand that fraud can come in many forms. Now with the increase in online shopping and email spam, consumers are more susceptible than ever. Identity thieves can rack up debt in your name. Consumers need to be aware of the different types of fraud they may encounter so that they can protect their identity and finances. This article, therefore, focuses on these different types of financial fraud and others that may have a severe impact on the quality of your life.
What You Need to Know About Financial Fraud
Consumers must be aware of the different tactics fraudsters might use to steal their identity or empty their finances. Prevention is key. Because once the damage is done it takes a tedious process to reverse it and reduce the impact it had on your life. Some of the things you can do right away are:
- Use difficult passwords and pins, change them frequently
- Shred unwanted documents that contain personal information
- Check your credit card and bank statements for unusual activity
These methods are all about keeping your information and your transactions intact. If you are one to maintain records of your expenses and other daily life activities the above steps will naturally help you in case you fall victim. Your overall success in debt management and overall financial sustenance will depend on how informed you are about your transactions. Therefore, you must understand the different types of financial and other fraud to stay protected.
Different Types of Financial Fraud & Others
- Identity Theft – Identify theft occurs when a fraudster steals a consumer’s personal information and uses it without their permission, usually for financial gain. Identity theft negatively affects a consumer’s credit and finances. And more often than not, consumers don’t even know they are at risk. This is the most common and most damaging form of fraud you can see around. It is simply because the areas of impact to an individual are a full 360!
- Telemarketing Fraud – This type of scam happens over the phone and is usually disguised as a charity or business asking to act now and send money. Real telemarketers are not allowed to ask for a fee upfront, so it is most likely a scam if a consumer is asked for payment information.
- Ponzi Schemes – Ponzi schemes promise consumers investments in a nonexistent enterprise with high returns and little to no risk. The schemer will use a portion of the consumer’s money to pay other investors while pocketing the rest.
- Health Care and Health Insurance Fraud – There are a variety of different forms of health care and health insurance fraud. In some cases, insurers are billed for services that never happened, patients receive bills for medical equipment that was never received or ordered by their physician, or fake tests are offered that aren’t needed and billed to the insurance company.
- Email Phishing – Email phishing occurs when a fraudster sends an email to a consumer with a malicious link. If clicked, malware will be installed and can reveal sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, credit card details, or social security numbers. This can then lead to identity theft, unauthorized purchases, or the draining of funds.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers may try to take advantage of you. As mentioned before this is the best time for them to take advantage of you. They might get in touch by phone, email, postal mail, text, or social media. Therefore make sure you take additional protective measures to avoid any financial fraud. Especially watch out when you have to share information such as your Social Security Number, Health insurance information, and your personal information online.
Banking & Other Scams
Getting a Covid-19 vaccine is among the highest priorities for the communities. Some unruly scammers use this to their advantage by crafting certain schemes. There are many resources available for the communities to find a vaccine or to be on a waitlist to obtain your vaccine. Scammers use this as an opportunity to obtain information via “surveys”. They would often offer you a reward for these surveys, for which you must pay a shipping fee. This way they get entry to your financial information and can very well be subjected to financial fraud.
How to Protect Yourself from Scams
It is important to be extra vigilant during this time. Here are some ways that you can protect yourself:
- First and foremost make sure your information is coming from a reliable source. Take your time to research the organizations or establishments that communicate with you.
- Review a company before purchasing any type of supply from them
- Beware of any solicitation that is sent your way
- Avoid anything that asks for payment upfront. If any service is asking you for an upfront payment that is your first cue to back away from it. Also, scammers are known to ask for your credit card information or bank account information over the phone. Unless you are absolutely sure of the source avoid giving out this information.
These are just a few steps to understand and take action in case you fall victim to such a situation. More importantly, you must remember that financial fraud occurs more often than you think. It is an easy trap to fall into. Therefore, stay vigilant always and do not let your guard down. Doing your research, looking at reviews, and using your information sparingly online is the way to go when it comes to financial fraud.