It seems like there are constantly new threats to our security and more advanced ways for criminals to access and use our personal information. Fraud can take various forms and can extend far beyond simply stealing your credit or debit card. The first and best way to protect yourself is to become educated about the different types of fraud that exist, ways in which criminals perpetrate this fraud, and how to protect yourself. Below, we’ve provided a list of various types of fraud, along with a brief definition and a link to more information from stopfraud.gov. We will also provide a list of basic practices you can implement in your life to help protect you and your family.
TYPES OF FRAUD
Elder fraud is an act targeting older adults in which attempts are made to deceive with promises of goods, services, or financial benefits that do not exist, were never intended to be provided, or were misrepresented. Elder financial exploitation is the illegal or improper use of an older adult’s funds or property.
Health or medical fraud is the purposeful billing Medicare for services that were never provided or received.
Identity theft is the use of another’s personal information without permission — like their name, Social Security number, or credit card number — to commit fraud or other crimes.
Mass Marketing Frauds target individuals of all ages and walks of life. Victims are lured with false promises of significant cash prizes, goods, services, or good works, in exchange for up-front fees, taxes or donations.
Criminals use mail, phone, and internet to commit many different types of fraud, including sweepstakes and lottery frauds, loan fraud, phishing scams, buying club memberships, credit card scams, identity theft, and more. All of these types of fraud fall under this category.
Mortgage scams and frauds include traditional mortgage fraud, foreclosure rescue scams, loan modification scams, and reverse mortgage scams.
Securities Fraud covers a wide range of illegal activities, all of which involve the deception of investors or the manipulation of financial markets.
Any misrepresentation of the tax laws or effort to undermine the integrity of the tax system to the gain of a person or business at the expense of the federal government.
Scam artists representing themselves as a charitable organization and using similar techniques to request donations as telemarketing, direct mail, email and online ads.
Scam artists who promise a job, access to special job listings, interviews, or a way to make a big income working from home for a fee or for credit or debit card information.
Use Trusted Sources
Whether you’re refinancing your home, meeting with a financial advisor, or shopping online, use companies and individuals that come highly recommended or carry some kind of certification or protection.
Protect Your Records
Keep important documents and financial records in a safe. If you need to throw something away, use a shredder. In addition, you should change your passwords frequently.
Keep up to date with current “trends” in fraud. Pay special attention to bank accounts and your credit score. Investigate any discrepancies and be sure to report any questionable behavior by professionals you interact with.
Ask for Help
If you think you’ve been a victim of fraud or you don’t know who you should trust, consult an attorney, visit sites like stopfraud.gov, or simply ask friends and family who they trust.