If you’ve been affected by financial fraud, you’re not alone. In 2017 alone financial fraud rose by 8%.
The results, not surprisingly, were devastating. Losses soared above $16 million. Still, many people remain unaware of the potential dangers of financial fraud. These tips will help you learn more about financial fraud and help you avoid becoming a victim.
1. Younger, educated people often fall victim to fraud
While many people may believe that older, less educated people tend to fall victim to financial fraud, people between the ages of 25 and 34 are more likely to lose money. Moreover, half of those people had college degrees.
2. You should contact a credit-reporting company immediately
Your best strategy when affected by financial fraud is to contact one of the three credit reporting companies – Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion – and place a fraud alert. Ask that company to report the request to other credit firms.
The initial alert remains on the report for at least 90 days, and you can extend it free of charge.
3. It’s not expensive to protect yourself against identity theft
There is a variety of inexpensive ways to protect yourself from identity theft and financial fraud. For example, request a free credit score once a year from Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion which can reveal evidence of fraud on your report.
4. A 3rd-party company can’t guarantee protection against financial fraud
There’s no guarantee that hiring a third-party company will protect your identity from being stolen. According to the FTC, even a paid company can’t safeguard people from having their personal information stolen.
There are two types of paid services: monitoring and recovery. Monitoring services are for signs of identity theft, while recovery services help you gain control after an identity theft has already occurred.
5. Immediately reporting financial loss saves you money
Your liability for unauthorized charges on a credit card can be no more than $50 on federal law. However, if you report the loss promptly – before the card is used – you won’t be responsible for any charges.
6. Wiring money or using reloadable payment cards is risky
Among the riskiest ways to pay for something are wiring money or using reloadable payment cards. Why? Because it’s nearly impossible to get your money back.
Credit cards, meanwhile, have more built-in fraud protection.
7. Seniors are frequent victims of financial abuse
While younger people are particularly vulnerable to financial fraud, seniors also are at high risk. But more than half of that abuse in the U.S. is committed by family members, friends, and caregivers.
Signs of financial abuse against seniors include unusual activity in their bank account, evidence of newly-opened accounts the senior doesn’t need, and more.
8. Protect your online accounts through multi-factor authentication
An excellent way to make your online accounts more secure is through multi-factor authentication. That means you need more than one set of credentials to verify your user identity – such as a combination of a pin, login-code, password, etc. There’s still an extra layer of protection even if one factor becomes compromised.
Protecting against financial and identity fraud requires a variety of precautions. But the steps you take, both before fraud occurs and after it happens, will reduce your liability.