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14 Tips to Protect Yourself From Fraud

Knowing how to protect yourself from fraud is important. Fraudster uses
clever schemes to defraud millions of people every year. They often
combine new technology with old tricks to get people to send money or
give out personal information.

So
far the hackers have used emails to launch this type of attack, but
with the widespread use of social media networks and smartphones with
internet access, the types of attacking are multiplying.  

Here are some practical tips to help you stay a step ahead

1. Spot imposters. Scammers often pretend to be someone you
trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a
company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal
information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a
text, a phone call, or an email.

2. Do online searches. Type a company or product name into your
favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.”
Or search for a phrase that describes your situation. ” You can even
search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as
scams.

3. Don’t believe your caller ID. Technology makes it easy for
scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see
aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal
information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the
truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.

4. Don’t pay upfront for a promise. Someone might ask you to pay
in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage
assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first
you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the
money and disappear.


5. Consider how you pay.

Credit cards have significant fraud protection built in, but some
payment methods don’t. Wiring money through services like Western Union
or MoneyGram is risky because it’s nearly impossible to get your money
back. Government offices and honest companies won’t require you to use
these payment methods.

6. Don’t send money to someone you  don’t know.  That includes an
online  merchant you’ve never heard of — or an online  love interest
who asks for money or favors. It’s best to do business with sites you
know and  trust. If you buy items through an online auction,  consider a
payment option that provides  protection, like a credit card. Don’t
send cash or  use a wire transfer service.

7. Talk to someone. Before you give up your money or personal
information, talk to someone you trust. Con artists want you to make
decisions in a hurry. They might even threaten you. Slow down, check out
the story, do an online search, consult an expert — or just tell a
friend.

8. Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a
recorded sales pitch, hang up. These calls are illegal, and often the
products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken
off the list. That could lead to more calls.

9. Be skeptical about free trial offers. Some companies use free
trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you
cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read
the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for
charges you don’t recognize.


10. Don’t deposit a check and wire money back.

By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within
days, but uncovering a fake check can take weeks. If a check you deposit
turns out to be a fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank.

11. Check the Source of Information From Incoming Mail.
Your bank will never ask you to send your passwords or personal
information by mail. Never respond to these questions, and if you have
the slightest doubt, call your bank directly for clarification.

12. Never Go to Your Bank’s Website by Clicking on Links Included in Emails. Do not click on hyperlinks or links attached in the email, as it might direct you to a fraudulent website.

Type in the URL directly into your browser or use bookmarks / favorites if you want to go faster.

13. Periodically Check Your Accounts.  It never hurts to check your bank accounts periodically to be aware of any irregularities in your online transactions.

14. Enhance the Security of Your Computer. Common sense and good
judgement are as vital as keeping your computer protected with a good
antivirus to block this type of attack.

In addition, you should always have the most recent update on your operating system and web browsers.

There are always new online and phone scams, so stay informed and be cautious to avoid fraud.

If you spot a scam, report it to

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Your reports help the EFCC and other law enforcement investigate scams and bring scammer to justice.

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