After meeting with a potential customer who was recently a victim of a financial fraud scam, I was reminded of an article in the Wisconsin State Journal that emphasized how common fraud scams really are; especially targeting baby boomers who don’t necessarily have the computer savvies that Gen Xers have. (I am generalizing, of course).
But whether it’s your “life savings” or just a few thousand dollars, it is important for consumers to know how to protect themselves.
As cautious consumers, how do we keep up with the new fraud attempts? As they (scam artists) become more and more innovative, are we able to continue to educate ourselves on the ability of some technology and curb our vulnerability??
When it used to be simply mass mailers, or telemarketers promising consumers the world and delivering the opposite, it was difficult to track what was scam and what was a real legitimate offer. But now, with the ever expanding capabilities of technology, it’s even worse. Some more recent innovative scams are:
Phishing – This occurs when scammers attempt to gain sensitive information such as passwords and user identification numbers by pretending to be a trustworthy website.
Vishing – Vishing is an electronic fraud tactic in which individuals are tricked into revealing critical financial or personal information to unauthorized parties by phone, however it utilizes a high-tech system, and makes formerly difficult to abuse tools such as caller ID useless. The caller virtually goes undetected.
Smishing – Smishing utilizes yet another tool, text messaging. A text message is sent to the member’s cell phone that asks the member to call a toll-free number. Once that call is made, the scammers will ask for personal information such as Account Number, Credit/Debit card number or Social Security Number.
Although it sounds like a Dr. Seuss book….”One Phish, Two Phish, Red Phish, Blue Phish…” it’s anything but an entertaining parody. What can we do to educate consumers and keep them up to speed on these ever-adapting scams?? Are you a recent victim of one of these scams? Are there newer scams out there that you have heard of?