You may think you’re too smart to fall for fraud or scams — but think again. Anyone, no matter their age, gender, education or income level, can be a victim of a financial scam.
Scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to banking. GOBankingRates spoke to Darius Kingsley, head of consumer business practices at Chase, for a closer look at how people are preyed upon by financial scammers and what to do if you think you might be at risk. Here’s what you need to know about avoiding fraud and money scams.
Warning Signs of a Scam
Don’t let your guard down, as even a momentary lapse in judgment can cost you. Kingsley said scammers have become experts at pinpointing moments of vulnerability in their victims.
“Scammers often employ common threads when setting their trap,” said Kingsley. “The more people educate themselves on potential warning signs, the better.”
So what are some scammer red flags? Before you lose any private information or money, keep your eyes peeled for these common themes in potential scams.
Leaving the Official Company Website To Pay
If you are asked to leave a company’s official website to pay, Kingsley said this is likely a scam. It is also likely a scam is underway if you are asked to use a method of payment that is not listed on the official website.
Being Asked for Money To Prevent Fraud
“A bank will never call to request money to stop fraud,” said Kingsley.
If you find yourself in a position where you are being asked to wire money or send a payment to prevent fraud on your account, do not fall for it. This is a common scam.
Scammers will not hesitate to contact you, whether by phone, email or text message, and make a threat. They may threaten to cut off your service if you don’t pay them immediately.
This is a scam and you should not fall for it. “Legitimate companies or government entities won’t use urgent scare tactics, but scammers will,” said Kingsley.
In the event you are being pressured to act quickly, Kingsley recommends stopping for a moment. Use this time to collect your thoughts. Ask yourself: Why does this person need your personal information?
In any situation where you feel skeptical or suspicious of a scam, Kingsley said do not share your Social Security number, banking password or even a one-time passcode or ATM PIN with anyone.
What To Do if You Fall Victim to a Scam
Those who fall victim to a scam may feel ashamed of themselves. They may think they should have known better and try to keep what happened to themselves.
“If you’ve fallen victim, there’s no need to be embarrassed or scared when asking for help. Scams can and do happen to everyone,” said Kingsley. “The best course of action is to always contact your financial institution and local authorities as soon as possible for help.”
Kingsley recommends always trusting your gut instinct in addition to watching out for common warning signs of a scam or fraud. “If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
The same goes if something feels too dire or urgent — don’t let a scammer take advantage of you.
More From GOBankingRates