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How to Avoid Being the Victim of Fraud

Golfing CoupleFraudsters are getting creative with how they obtain information and money from their victims. These frauds can impact anyone, but they are especially prevalent with the elderly.

To keep yourself protected, it is important to be educated on the types of scams that are out there. These are just a few and how you can protect yourself.

Charity Fraud
This scam is designed to take advantage of your good will. It starts with a phone call or solicitation for money for a charity that doesn’t really exist. The pursuant will pressure the victim into donating right then and there, not allowing time for the victim to research the organization.
Do not donate money or give financial information until you’ve confirmed the charity. Ask for an email with more information or research the organization online. Be sure that your money is going to the exact cause you expect it to go to.

Imposter/You’ve Won Scams
These types of scams tend to target older individuals. Someone calls and tells you you’ve won a contest or that they are from the government and you owe taxes and fees. Before sending money, you need to confirm that the solicitation is legitimate. Note that the IRS will never call you to ask for money and most contests to not require a fee to collect your winnings.
Ask your friends if they’ve been contacted with a similar message. If they have, it’s likely fraud.

Health Care Scams
This is a popular scam used during Medicare open season, used to obtain personal information. You’ll receive a phone call telling you that you need to get a new health care card or offering you big discounts on services like insurance.
The best way to confirm if this is legitimate is to call Medicare (800.Medicare) directly before giving out any information.

Paying Too Much
Sometimes companies will tack on unexpected charges to take advantage of people not paying attention. It’s important to stay on top of these charges and understand what you’re paying for.
If it’s a service you pay for monthly, look at your past charges and know what you normally spend. If an unexpected charge appears, call the company and ask for a supervisor to explain the charge.

The best way to stop these forms of fraud are to communicate about them. If you’ve been the victim, tell your friends about your experience. The reason fraud happens is because people fall for it.

If you think you are being targeted by one of these scams, please report to the FTC. Call them at 1.877.FTC.HELP or go online to ftc.gov/complaint.