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10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Fraud & Scams

Some trends are fun, like hula hoops and friendship bracelets, others...not so much. Often the fall season is where we see an increasing trend in scams and fraud attempts. At O Bee, we safeguard your accounts through a multi-layered security strategy. We are highly successful in detecting and preventing fraud attempts in order to protect members. However, it’s equally important that our members are educated about how to spot potential fraud and scams. Here are a few things to watch for:

Who are the targets?

The Unemployed: Job offers don’t come unsolicited. If you’re job-hunting, don’t respond to emails offering you a “dream position” you never applied to have.
The Aging: Educate or monitor our aging population that spends a lot of time on the internet.  They are vulnerable and falling victim to a variety of scams.
Children: Educate your children. Children will more readily share information with strangers, which can then be used to steal their identity. Once someone falls victim to a scam, the financial loss can take years to recover from.

Most common scams we see:

  • Secret shopper job offers: A bogus company will “hire” you to purchase an item in a store and then report back on the experience. Before you get started, though, you’ll have to pay a hefty fee, which you’ll never see again.
  • Sweetheart scams: A scammer pretending to be an online lover will con you into sending them money and gifts or sharing personal information.
  • Fraudulent investments: Scammers reach out to victims with information about lucrative investments that don’t exist.
  • Computer takeover (cyberhacking): Hackers gain remote access to your computer—and personal information.
  • “Phishing”: Scammers bait you into sharing personal information, which they use to hack your accounts or steal your identity.
Regardless of the type of scam, they very often look like this: you receive a check from a stranger or an unsolicited company that asks you to cash it and send most of it back via wire, money order or gift cards. Once someone falls for a scam, recovering those funds is very rare.  The best protection is education and asking your financial institution.

10 ways to protect yourself from fraud & scams

  1. Never share personal information online.
  2. Don’t open unsolicited emails. If you do, don’t click on any links in them.
  3. Never send money by insecure methods to an unknown party.
  4. Protect your devices by using the most current 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.
  7. Educate your kids about basic computer safety and privacy.
  8. If you have elderly parents, talk to them about common scams and teach them to protect themselves.
  9. If a government agency or a company calls and asks you to share personal information, tell them you’ll contact them on your own.
  10. Never accept a job or pay for a purchase or service without researching the company involved.
And always remember that old saying: If it seems too good to be true, it usually is!

 


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