Be cautious. Look carefully. Ask questions.
- Be careful who you trust
Scammers often pretend to be someone you can trust. Avoid sharing personal information over the telephone, in a text message or through email. If you did not initiate the call, do not give out your social security number, date of birth, mother’s maiden name, credit card number or bank PIN code. Don’t fall for telephone and email solicitations disguised as promotions offering prizes or awards.
- Choose your payment method carefully
Credit cards have fraud protection built in for your security. But some payment methods are not as secure. Avoid wiring money because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back. Government offices and most companies won’t require you to use these payment methods.
- If it seems suspicious, ask questions
When someone contacts you and it feels like a scam, end the phone call. Do your own research and verify that the caller is from a legitimate organization or company. Call the agency, creditor or financial institution directly to confirm if there is an issue.
- Keep a close eye on your finances
Never loan your credit card to anyone. If a credit card is lost or stolen, report it immediately. If you’ve applied for a new credit card and it doesn’t arrive in a timely manner, call the bank or credit card agency. Notify creditors of any changes in address. Monitor purchases. Shred pre-approved applications, credit card bills and other financial information before discarding in the recycling bin. Empty your wallet of extra credit cards and IDs. Never give a blank or signed check without completing the payee and amount information.
- Be skeptical about free trial offers
Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. Always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.