How to Protect Yourself from Scams
You play a vital part in defending your own and financial information. The initial step is realizing how to spot basic monetary trick strategies and how to relieve your danger. Scams can be clever, but not clever enough; if you know how they work and how to avoid them here few are few ways to prevent fraud.
- Know who you’re dealing with
In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.
- Guard your personal information
Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.
- Fully understand the offer
A legitimate seller will give you all the details about the products or services, the total price, the delivery time, the refund and cancellation policies, and the terms of any warranty. Contact the seller if any of these details are missing, if they are unable to provide the details, it may be a sign that it’s a scam.
- Don’t pay upfront
Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit card offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you have won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
- Be aware about free trial offers
Some companies use free trials to sign you up for products and bill you every month until you cancel. Before you agree to a free trial, research the company and read the cancellation policy. And always review your monthly statements for charges you don’t recognize.
- Be certain the organization is authentic
Scammers regularly attempt to gather individual and additional financial information from shoppers by acting like workers of magnanimous associations or monetary administration organizations. Be wary about giving individual or monetary data to anybody, regardless of whether they guarantee to be from an organization you as of now work with. It could prompt wholesale fraud.
You have to be exceptionally doubtful in the event that you get a phone call, email, or message requesting you to make any from the following moves:
• Provide your bank account number, Social Security number, or date of birth
• Disclose your credit card or debit card information
• Download software in an email
• Confirm or change your password or login information
• Send money or ask for an advance fee to qualify for a loan or payment plan
7 Signs a lender may be a Fraud
1. The lender isn’t interested in your Payment History
One of the upfront disclosures you should see is the requirement to pull your credit report before lending you money.
Reputable lenders make it clear that they’ll need to look at your credit, sometimes getting reports from all three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian). They need to know whether you have a history of paying bills on time and in full, which offers them some assurance that you’ll be just as diligent about repaying a loan.
On the other hand, the operators of loan scams aren’t really interested in timely repayment. They tend to do the opposite, seeking high-risk borrowers who are likely to fall behind on loan payments and, as a result, incur their excessively high late fees and penalties.
2. The lender isn’t registered in your State
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) requires that lenders and loan brokers must register in the states where they conduct business. If a lender you’re interested in does not list any states, you could be dealing with a loan scam.
Check the lender’s website to verify a list of states where it legally conducts business. If you don’t find it, contact your state attorney general’s office for further verification. Lenders also must operate under a bank charter, so look for that information on the lender’s website as well.
3. The lender demands a Prepaid Debit Card
Some scammers will require you to provide a prepaid debit card, claiming they need it for insurance, collateral or fees. Legitimate financial institutions may charge a fee for your application, appraisal or credit report, but those charges are deducted from your loan.
A prepaid debit card can be a useful tool for personal loan scams. It’s virtually as untraceable as cash, and good luck reporting it as stolen if you’ve voluntarily given it to a scammer.
4. The lender calls, writes or knocks
Legitimate lenders typically advertise in ways you would expect, such as online or through other mass media. If you get a loan offer by phone, through the mail or even a door-to-door solicitation, be on your guard immediately. According to the FTC, it’s illegal for companies to offer a loan in the U.S. over the phone.
5. The lender’s website isn’t secure
When visiting a lender’s site, what you don’t see can be just as important as what you do see. Always look for:
A padlock symbol on any pages where you’re asked to provide personal information
An “s” after “http” on the site address — “s” as in secure” — so it shows as “https://www…”
The padlock symbol and the secure address mean the site is protected from identity thieves who steal personal information and sell it to other criminals.
At best, the lack of these safety measures means the lender isn’t concerned about the integrity of the site. At worst, it could mean the lender is leaving your information exposed on purpose as part of a loan scam.
6. The lender has no Physical Address
Make sure the lender you’re interested in has provided a physical location. (Even then, you will still want to plug that address into Google Maps. In some cases, businesses running personal loan scams will list addresses that are actually vacant lots.)
If you don’t find any sign of an actual physical address, you should avoid the lender. Many operators of loan scams would rather be untraceable so they can avoid legal consequences.
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