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UMe’s Guide to Financial Security: All About Social Media, Phone Call, and Text Message Scams

Hello, BFFs (Best Financial Friends)! We’re back with another series of blog articles aimed to help you live your best financial life! This time, we’re giving you good info about keeping your finances safe. We will be covering the latest unfortunate scams that are out there, how to prevent yourself from being a victim, and best practices to keep your money secure. This first installment will cover the social media, phone call, and text message scams — and how to avoid them. So, let’s get started!

Social Media Scams
Fraudsters are now on our favorite social media platforms — but they are not looking to be social. According to the Federal Trade Commission, in the first six months of 2020, people reported losing a record high of almost $117 million to scams that started on social media. Common scamming tactics included online sellers who did not deliverromance scammers, and phony offers for financial help. While social media scams are on the rise, you can avoid falling victim to them with a few easy steps:

First off, it’s a good idea to review your social media privacy settings and limit the personal information you share publicly. Also, when purchasing through social media apps like Facebook or Instagram, do some research on the merchant before making a purchase. A quick search for reviews or a deep dive into their page can give you useful insight. Be wary of businesses with lots of negative reviews, as they might not be legitimate.

If somebody you don’t know sends an extra friendly message to you, do some research before engaging. People create fake profiles all the time to befriend people and eventually request money or financial information. We are all for making new friends, but not the fraud type. Looking out for you here, BFF.

Lastly, anybody who randomly offers you financial help or a financial opportunity via social media should raise a red flag in your head. Scams are often disguised as “opportunities” with the goal being for you to send money or to release financial information. Side note: If you are in need financial help of any kind, we’re here for U!

Phone Call Scams
Scam calls are happening all the time these days. Fraudsters have come up with countless ways to try to cheat people out of their money over the phone. Phone call scams come in all shapes and sizes… robo voice, impersonator voice, “immediate action is required” voice, intimidating voice, among many others. Regardless of which voice calls you, keep an ear out for these red flags when getting a call you do not recognize. Scam callers might:

  • say you were “selected” for an offer or that you’ve won a lottery
  • pretend to be law enforcement or a federal agency
  • present you with an offer that requires an immediate decision
  • ask you to make a purchase with a gift card
  • call you regarding extended warranties, free trails, or travel opportunities
  • impersonate the IRS and threaten legal action

 

Want to keep these calls from coming in? You can simply hang up, block the number if you’re sure it’s a scam call, or enter your phone number in the National Do Not Call Registry.

Text Message Scams
Similar to phone call scams, the bad guys will use text messages in various ways in order to phish for your personal information. Scammers send fake text messages to try and trick you into giving them sensitive data – things like your password, account number, or Social Security number. Some common ways they will try to rope you in include:

 

The best rule of thumb here if you get one of these unexpected messages, is to NOT provide any of the requested information or click on any of the links. Legitimate companies won’t ask for information about your account via text. Blocking the number through your phone or by using a third-party app can be helpful. Click here for a list of the number blocking apps you can download for free.

We hope you found some great nuggets of information in our first installment of our Guide to Financial Security. If you have any questions at all, our team is here to help! Just give us a call or stop in during businesses hours.

In our next installment, we will be covering how to avoid email scams. See U then!

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