• Olga

Dear Olga: Financial Fraud

Dear Olga,


Can you explain a few simple guidelines on how to protect yourself from financial fraud?


Thank you,

Supporter

Dear Supporter,


Such a relevant topic, as the number of cashless transactions grow every year. Financial fraud is on the rise and the scams out there grow more intricate by the day, catching millions of people every year.


Do you remember the generalization that identity theft impacts mostly older people? Times have definitely changed, because that's no longer true.


Check out this infographic from the FTC on the right. In 2018, young adults reported more instances of financial fraud than older people. 🤔


Of the $1.4 million fraud reports in 2018, 43% of those reports were young adults in their 20s compared to 15% in their 70s. Although those in their 70s tend to lose more per transaction, it's alarming that those in their 20s make up such a large percent of the total fraud for the year.


My favorite tool that I use personally, recommend to my friends and family, as well as clients, is Credit Karma. While the main purpose of the tool is to monitor your credit score, there are some tools that are very helpful with tackling fraud. My three favorite features are:

  • You can freeze your credit through Credit Karma, this will prevent new loans or credit lines from being opened in your name until you unlock it.

  • Your credit score is updated every week and any drastic changes will be called out to your attention. If you set up notifications for specific changes, you can receive an email when those events occur. (For example, receive an alert any time a new credit card account is opened in your name.)

  • All of your debt and credit card lines will be in one place. You can review all payment history and notify them of any discrepancies. They can assist you in correcting your history as well, including correcting the history with the credit bureaus!


A rule of thumb for any virtual account, if there is two-factor authentication available, SET IT UP! Two-factor authentication allows you to add an additional layer of security by adding an additional password that will be generated each time; typically through a call, text message, or email. This will decrease the chances of your accounts being hacked. And while we're on the topic of passwords, don't share your passwords!


If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is! If you're unsure, sleep on it. Nothing can be so urgent that it can't wait 24 hours. If the person on the other side is being too pushy, chances are it's not something you want to involve yourself in.


As our lives continue to move more into cyberspace, this topic is growing each day. Feel free to write in again if there is anything more specific you'd like me to cover, we can do a follow-up post about any additional questions you may have.


Best of luck!

Olga

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