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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Tips to avoid financial scams
August 03, 2023

Tips to Avoid Financial Scams

Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

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Tips to Avoid Financial Scams

Technology can make life convenient, especially with mobile phones that help us stay connected on the go. Unfortunately, today’s scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it more difficult to spot suspicious emails, calls or texts.

Here are some tips to avoid financial scams.

1. Didn’t expect it? Don’t click it.

Be wary of any message that’s unexpected — no matter who or what company it’s from — especially if it’s about something like a “problem with your account,” “confirmation of an order,” “difficulty delivering a package” or a “virus on your computer.” These messages may come by phone, email, text, direct message, or pop-up with a request for personal information or money. Rule of thumb: Never click on a link or open an attachment from any institution or individual unless you were expecting it. If you think the message could be legitimate, take a moment and find the contact information on the company website and then reach out to the institution or person directly and ask if the email, text, or call came from them. If not, simply delete it.

2. Be wary of requests that pressure you to act immediately.

Watch out for messages that pressure you to act immediately. If a familiar company or someone you know comes to you with an alarming “emergency” or “problem” where time is of the essence, take a breath and recognize that this urgency may be a scam. Scammers know if they can get your emotions or adrenaline high that you’re less likely to think rationally. And don’t just trust caller ID to confirm who’s calling, since numbers and voices can be easily spoofed or imitated.

3. Asked to pay in an unusual way? Stop and assess the situation.

Scammers often ask for a payment method that can’t be traced or rescinded, such as through a bitcoin, prepaid debit cards or gift cards — this is a major red flag. If you’re asked to provide payment in an unusual way, stop and assess if this may be a scam. Financial institutions will never ask you to transfer money to anyone, including yourself, and will never ask you to transfer money because of possible fraud on your account.

4. When in doubt, don’t give it out.

It’s crucial to safeguard your personal and financial information. Be wary if you are asked to provide personal or account information. Never provide this information to anyone unless it was you who initiated the call to the company.

5. Tempted to “get rich quick?” Trust your gut.

If you receive an offer for a free product, trip, or other “get rich quick” opportunity that seems too good to be true, trust your instincts. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Also, never cash a check for someone you don’t know personally, even if they claim they will pay you extra for the favor. If you authorize a transfer or send money to a scammer, it can be very difficult for you to get your money back.

Take your security to the next level.

Use up-to-date technology to avoid falling victim to scams. You can help protect your online accounts by always using features like two-factor authentication, which makes your accounts harder to access, and activity alerts that keep you updated on what’s going on with your account.

If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam you should promptly report it to the IC3's website at The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.

Remember - always watch for scams!


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