Some scams are very easy to spot while other scams may appear to be genuine offers or bargains. Scams can even take place without you doing anything at all. Scams can cost people a lot of money and cause a great deal of distress. The simple tips below will help you protect yourself and your family from scams.
- If it looks too good to be true - it probably is.
- Use your common sense: the offer may be a scam.
- ALWAYS get independent advice if an offer involves significant money, time, or commitment.
- Remember there are no get-rich-quick schemes: the only people who make money are the scammers.
- You can contact your local Police Department for assistance or to help answer any questions you may have.
- NEVER send money or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.
- Check your bank account and credit card statements when you get them. If you see a transaction you cannot explain, report it to your credit union or bank.
- Keep your credit and ATM cards safe. Do not share your personal identity number with anyone. Do not keep any written copy of your PIN with the card.
- Do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions about money or investments (always get independent financial advice).
Protect Your Identity
- Only give out your personal details and information where it is absolutely necessary and where you have initiated the contact and trust the other party.
- Destroy personal information don't just throw it out. You should shred old bills, statements, or cards so scammers cannot get your personal details from them later.
- Treat your personal details as you would treat money - don't leave them lying around for others to take.
- Order a free copy of your credit report every year to make sure no one is using your name to borrow money or run up debts.
Sending or Transferring Money
- Never send money to anyone you are not totally sure about.
- Do not send any money or pay any fee to claim a prize or lottery winnings.
- Money laundering is a criminal offense - do not agree to transfer money for someone else.
- Make sure that your bank has cleared checks before transferring or wiring any refunds or over payments back to the sender.