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How To Protect Yourself (And Your Family) From Fraud

According to a recent study, “In the US, one in ten adults will fall victim to a scam or fraud every year”, with the elderly population being particularly vulnerable to this form of crime. As the results of being defrauded can be catastrophic, especially when it comes to money management – it’s crucial that you are aware of the steps you can take to protect yourself and those you care for from fraudulent activity. 

Here are some top tips to get you started! 

If something is too good to be true, don’t fall for it.

Some scams can be incredibly elaborate, making it hard to notice that you’ve fallen into a trap before it’s too late. Others are easy to see through. As a general rule, if something sounds too good to be true – it usually is. Don’t let optimism cloud your judgment. Think practically and be sure you’re aware of the most common/scams and frauds, such as shopping scams.

Know when you reach out to a lawyer.

When you’ve fallen victim to a scam, the best way to protect yourself is to report it sooner rather than later. For example, you could reach out to a fraud lawyer who can help you through the complicated legal process, ensuring that action is taken against the person who defrauded you. This can be particularly useful if large sums of money were lost or if you are helping elderly parents protect their assets. 

Stay safe online.

As we live in a world where we spend more time online than ever before, it’s hardly surprising that most fraud scams occur online. This means you must ensure you know how to stay safe online. For example, you should avoid giving out private information unless it’s on a reputable site you know you can trust.

You should also install some kind of cybersecurity or anti-spyware software onto your computer, which can help you identify websites that could be unsafe. If any members of your family are not particularly tech-savvy, spend some time teaching them how to browse safely (and securely). 

Shred your mail.

While you might not receive too much mail through the postal service in this day and age, the information stored in these letters, such as your address and full name, could make you more vulnerable to fraud/scams. This is particularly true if you receive correspondence from your bank in the post. If they receive access to this information, scammers could take out cards in your name, incurring debt and damaging your credit score – all of which could ruin your financial health.

As a result, you should make sure that you shred your mail after use. If you don’t have access to a shredder, try to cross out important/identifying details, or tear it up by hand. Regarding bank statements, you may benefit from asking your bank to correspond with you entirely online as opposed to through paper, as this tends to be a more secure method of communication, thus protecting you from fraud. 

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