October 3, 2019. By Jennifer Wolfsberg:
Just when you think you have heard them all, opted out of every list, and blocked every unknown address, your junk mailbox erupts or you pick up the phone only to hear an AI operator promising to forgive your student loan, make good with the IRS, or upgrade your car warranty. Invasive sales calls and emails seem to be sneaking into daily lives more easily than ever, and with their false offerings casting such a wide net, it can be difficult at times to decipher how, and when, to ignore the communication.
According to Exposed to Scams: What Separates Victims from Non-Victims?, a report from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, and the Stanford Center on Longevity, “Victimization by scams and fraud depends, in part, on a two way engagement”. Knowing how to best protect yourself can help prevent a financial hit at the hands of fraudsters. Bridget Small, Consumer Education Specialist for the Federal Trade Commission, summarized the report in her recent article noted below, “Self Defense Against Scams”:
“To everyone who hangs up on unwanted calls, learns about the latest scams, and checks with friends about suspicious offers: good news! People who did all those things were less likely to lose money to a scam than people who didn’t, according to Exposed to Scams: What Separates Victims from Non-Victims?, a report from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, and the Stanford Center on Longevity. The groups surveyed more than 1,400 people who had reported a scam and found several differences between people who did and didn’t lose money. The people who avoided scams:
- Didn’t engage with a scam offer. Nearly half the people surveyed said they had ignored emails, thrown away mailers, and deleted friend requests. They had also hung up on bogus tax and debt collection calls, and imposter phishing scams.
- Learned about scams and scammers’ tactics. People who knew more about specific scams and scammers’ tactics were more likely to reject an offer and avoid losing money. News stories were the top way to get information about frauds and scams for the majority of people surveyed.
- Talked to someone. The people who had someone to talk with about the offers were less likely to lose money. Some people who were caught up in scams were helped by store cashiers, bank tellers, or wire transfer employees who talked them out of sending money. Sometimes sharing what you know can help protect someone you know from a scam.
The FTC has resources to support you — and people you care about — avoid scams. Sign up to get email updates about recent scams. Order free publications to read and share in your community at BulkOrder.FTC.gov. And please, if you spot a scam, report it at FTC.gov/Complaint. By reporting fraud, you can help the FTC identify scammers.”
Both the report and the summary provide key points that we should all keep in mind, especially when making financial decisions. Luckily such educational pieces are readily available however must be put into action by consumers for true protection. For more resources on protecting your privacy, identity, and online security, click here to visit the FTC Consumer Information page.