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7 Money Scam Prevention Tips

by on March 9, 2012

As National Consumer Protection Week 2012 comes to a close, we want all PowerSavers to remember to be smart and practice these basic lifestyle habits all year long.  As important as this financial literacy themed week is, it’s even more important to apply these lifestyle choices and critical thinking skills to your every day life.  So the next time your grandmother tells you she just got a call from her long lost cousin and needs to borrow a huge lump sum of money – question it.  Or before you respond to an email claiming you just won $100,000, research it. You always have to be alert and aware of the potential harms in this world.  From getting your identity stolen to getting fraudulent help on your home mortgage, remember to do your research and think twice before you hand over any personal information or a bunch of money to anyone.

Check out 7 money scam prevention tips that you and friends can apply to your life so you never find yourself victimized by a thieve.

1. Sign up for bank alerts.  Every major bank allows customers to sign up for text messages or email alerts regarding account activity.  This is an easy and convenient way to stay on top of your personal financial accounts without being forced to spend a lot of time.  Also, sign up for PowerWallet Beta and get one simple alert about ALL your financial accounts.

2. Check your monthly financial statements. Take your time at the end of each month to look over all financial statements to ensure that you were in fact the person who made all of the listed transactions. Some thieves have become so clever that they will test your account by charging $1 to it to see if you notice.  If you leave it unreported, they will take it as you are an easy target to steal large sums of money.

3. Keep your PIN (Personal Identification Number) number personal. Never give out your account PIN number or online account login information. By giving out personal information, you could leave open a window of opportunity for someone to access your online accounts and leave you broke.  Millions of Americans each year trust their boyfriend/girlfriends and best friends with their personal financial information and end up finding their money compromised when a break up goes sour.

4. Use reputable websites. When shopping online, use only secure reputable websites. You can tell the difference between a secure and unsecure website by the beginning of the URL.  Look for “https://” for secure websites; unsecure sites start with the standard “http://.”  Never enter account information if you do not see the “s” in the web address bar.

5. Shred & destroy everything. Any financial documents and credit card statements you have and no longer need, shred them!  A thief could easily search your trash or break into your home or car and attain your account information and end up spending all of your hard earned money.

6. Guard your credit cards. A skilled identity thieve can make an imprint of your card or call a partner with the information. Once they have your personal information, with a few clicks they can easily make online purchases instantly.

7.  Don’t hesitate to report a case. Know what agencies and resources are available to you if you do become a victim of a money scam.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Identity Theft Assistance Center and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau are excellent government agencies that you can report to and receive justice.

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