How to protect yourself from scams

By Sally Writes

Approximately 25 million Americans fall prey to scams each year according to the Federal Trade Commission. Protect yourself, and your loved ones from consumer fraud with these simple tactics.

Be Careful About Giving Out Your Personal Information

Whenever you give out your personal information, like your Social Security number, birth date or bank account information, make sure you trust the person or organization you are telling it to. If you don’t know the person who is asking you for information, hold off until you can speak to someone you trust. You might need to give your sensitive data out to conduct business, but you should always know precisely why you are handing it out, and what it will be used for.

Urgency is a Red Flag

If you ever feel like someone is pressuring you to disclose personal information or make an immediate payment, be wary. Often scammers make victims feel like there is a time constraint so that the victim can’t think clearly. Instead of rushing to make a decision, ask for more time. If the person says no, they could be trying to take advantage of you.

Get a Second Opinion

Sometimes people going through challenging life circumstances need extra support. If you are already dealing with a life change, such as addiction recovery, you might have a lot on your mind. Instead of falling victim to a scam, ask for help in the form of a second opinion.

Reach out to someone who has your best interests at heart, and explain the situation that you face. Perhaps you got a survey in the mail, or a telemarketer keeps on calling you and asking for funding. A second opinion can help you decide whether the source of the survey or phone call is trustworthy or not.

When In Doubt….

Follow this simple maxim when it comes to your personal information: “when in doubt, don’t give it out.” This motto can help you protect yourself from scammers who want to collect your information.

Every year, millions of people fall victim to scammers. Even when you have a lot going on in your life, it is important to stay vigilant against fraud. Ask for help from your support network if you feel unable to make a wise decision. Before you give out your personal information, you should know and trust the person and organization that it is going to. When in doubt, don’t give out any personal information.