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How to Recognize and Protect Yourself from Scams

Scammers always try to con victims out of their information and money. They also tend to prey on the most susceptible victims, including those who are down on their luck or are exceptionally naïve and trusting.

DoverPhila Federal Credit Union’s biggest priority is your financial wellness, and that includes keeping you and your money safe. We’ve put together the below guide to help you recognize the signs of fraud and how to protect yourself from scams.

FIVE RED FLAGS OF SCAMS

  1. They ask for detailed information before agreeing to process an application.

  2. They insist on a specific method of payment.

  3. They send a check for an inflated amount to a seller or “employee,” and then ask the victim to mail them the extra money. Of course, the original check will not clear.

  4. You can’t find any information about the company the caller allegedly represents.

  5. You’re pressured to act now.

MOST COMMON TARGETS OF SCAMS

  • The unemployed. If you’re job-hunting, don’t respond to emails offering you a “dream position” you never applied to have.

  • The aging. Older people often spend lots of time online. They can also be less aware of the dangers lurking there.

  • Children. Sadly, they are another huge target pool for scammers. Small children are not checking their credit, which means a stolen identity can go unchecked until the child grows into a young adult. By that time their credit can be wrecked, almost beyond repair.

WHAT DO SCAMS LOOK LIKE

  • Cyber-hacking. Hackers gain remote access to your computer-and personal information.

  • Phishing scams. Scammers bait you into sharing personal information, which they use to hack your accounts or steal your identity.

  • Mystery shopper. A bogus company “hires” you to purchase a specific item in a store and then report back about the service experience. Before you get started, though, you have to pay a hefty fee that you never see again.

  • Job offers. Scammers “hire” you for a position and then scam you by sending you an inflated check, as detailed above.

  • Sweetheart scams. A scammer pretending to be an online lover cons you into sharing personal information and/or sending them money and gifts.

  • Fraudulent investments. Scammers reach out to potential investors with information about lucrative investments that don’t exist.

10 WAYS TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMS

  1. Never share personal information online.

  2. Don’t open unsolicited emails. If you already have, don’t click on any embedded links.

  3. Never send money by insecure means to an unknown party.

  4. Protect your devices by using the most up-to-date operating systems, choosing two-factor authentication, and using strong, unique passwords for every account.

  5. Choose the strongest privacy settings for your social media accounts.

  6. Keep yourself in the know about the latest scams and learn how to protect yourself.

  7. Educate your kids about basic computer safety and privacy.

  8. If you have elderly parents who spend time online, talk to them about common scams and teach them to protect themselves.

  9. If a government agency, utility company, or financial institution reaches out to you and asks you to share personal information, tell them you’ll contact them on your own and then end the call.

  10. Never accept a job or agree to pay for a purchase or service without thoroughly researching the company involved.

Above all, remember the golden rule of scams: If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably a scam.

Once an individual falls prey to a scam, there is very little that can be done to mitigate the loss. Full financial recovery can take years. It’s best to protect yourself from scams before they happen by educating yourself and asking DoverPhila Federal Credit Union for help.

Why call when you can text? Members can now text DoverPhila with their mobile devices. Click the button to get started.

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