How to Protect Your Finances

How to Protect Your Finances

( – In 2019, Americans lost an estimated $10.5 billion as a result of phone scams, according to a Statista survey. A report by the Senate Special Committee on Aging found senior citizens lose about $2.9 billion every year as a result of criminals scheming them out of their money. In other words, shady people trying to steal from hardworking people is a serious problem in the US. What’s worse is that they use several different methods from phone calls to emails.

That’s why everyone needs to know what to watch out for. Check out three of the most popular scams.

1. Fake Charities

Scammers will contact people through email, social media, in person, and over the phone to solicit donations for fake foundations. For example, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has warned about people claiming to be a firefighter or police charity to steal money. The National Police Foundation has even warned supporters they never solicit donations over the phone, and if someone claims to be with their organization, it’s a lie.

To prevent being scammed by a fake charity, never give financial information to strangers. If you’d like to donate to an organization, call directly or go to their website.

2. IRS Impersonation Call

IRS impersonation calls are also a popular way to trick Americans into handing over their personal and financial information. Here’s an example of one of the calls:

The IRS will never initiate contact through telephone, email, social media, or text messages. When in doubt, contact the agency directly.

3. Sweepstakes Scams

On August 20, 2020, the US Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas announced a 50-year-old Nigerian man was being extradited from Canada to the US to face charges stemming from a sweepstakes scam. The DOJ alleges the man tricked unsuspecting elderly people into depositing fake checks in their bank accounts and sending thousands of dollars back to the “sweepstakes representative” to claim an even bigger prize.

A good rule of thumb to remember is if you have to send money to get a prize, it’s not a real prize.

Oftentimes scammers will appeal to a person’s emotions to steal from them. So, it’s important to remain vigilant and never hand over personal or financial information to a stranger, no matter what story they have up their sleeves.

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