10 Tips on Protecting Yourself from Scams

woman on a computer

Unfortunately, as technology advances, so do the scammers. Falling prey to a scam can be costly to both your bank account and your peace of mind. Here are ten tips for avoiding scammers and con artists in the world.

Say NO to Junk Mail

Start by immediately throwing away all junk mail when you get it (or recycling if you’re able), then stop the junk mail altogether. You can legitimately stop snail mail, email and telemarketers by putting yourself on the do not contact lists on this site. https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0262-stopping-unsolicited-mail-phone-calls-and-emai

Shred It

This tip is an important one. Thieves get your information from trash all the time, and not just at the curb. Your trash travels, make sure it doesn’t have any identifiable information on it by shredding any mail with your birthdates, social security numbers, and account numbers

Power of Attorney

Check with a law office and create a power of attorney that is trustworthy to take care of your finances when you’re sick or injured. Without this, you are in danger of losing everything or being scammed while you’re out of commission. You want someone you trust to care for your finances whenever you’re unable.

Direct Deposit

Put all payments to you including salary on direct deposit. Having checks mailed directly to your home puts you at high risk for mail fraud and mail theft. Identity thieves have easy access to your personal information if they’re able to steal a check directly from your mailbox.

Research “discount” Cards

You’ll want to research prescription and medical discount cards before you pay for them. Many of them are scams or at best not useful for why you need them.  Only sign up for one if your doctor’s office or dentist tells you directly that they accept them and if possible ask for an example from your doctor’s office on how the card might save you money.

Get Recommendations

When hiring contractors for home repairs, try to use contractors that have been personally recommended to you. It’s much too easy to get scammed or overcharged for home repairs. If you need something fixed, ask around to friends and family and find how who they have successfully used.

The Government Won’t Call

Understand that the government, especially the IRS will not call you at home asking for a payment. If you get a call from an IRS agent asking for a payment, this is 100% a scam. Pay your IRS bills online at the IRS.gov website and always make sure that you have back up paperwork to confirm what you owe.

No Travel Clubs

Avoid travel clubs of all types. Unless it’s made up of personal friends that you know in person, travel clubs are rarely a good deal and often made up of scammers just trying to get your funds.

Track your Bills

Keep your bills organized and maintain proper records. There are scammers out there who will call pretending to be cable and utility companies and ask for phone payments. Make sure you never pay a bill over the phone if the person called you first. You should always initiate the call or email when making a payment

Stop and Think

Stop and think before you purchase something or sign up for anything. This is especially true if you’re doing it over the phone or on the internet. If you think about it for a few days, you may realize you don’t need it, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 

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