Fraudulent phone calls and emails have continued to be a hot topic. So I thought I’d share my thoughts on how to reduce being victim of a scam.
Just of all, note that it is also unfortunate for the financial institution to be impersonated by someone else. When you need to track down the fraudulent transaction, the bank will need to assist in the process and it just gives them more work and it’s not like you are paying them extra to do the work. Even though you may already feel that you are paying enough in fees to the bank, they still need to pay their employee to take on the extra work. If they end up having too much work, they will need to hire more help and then a fee increase will probably kick in.
So, let’s talk about what you can do to help reduce the chances of being fallen victim to a scammer.
1) If you receive a suspicious phone call
A suspicious phone call would be someone asking you for money. No one should be calling you to ask you for money. They will have to send you a formal notice. Otherwise it is just hearsay.
What I recommend when you receive such a phone call, tell them that you will jot down the information and call the institution back at a later time. Don’t even bother asking them for a phone number, you are better off calling a number that you trust.
For example, if Bank A calls you asking for money. Take down the information and tell them that you will call the bank back. They will probably encourage you to call back some specific number, but you don’t need to take that number. You are better off calling the regular 1-800 number at the back of your credit or bank card to confirm that validity of the information.
Even if you are 100% certain it is a fake call, you should still call your financial institution to alert them of the fraudulent phone call that you received. It helps if you have call ID (assuming the number shows up), so that you can report the number to the institution, so that they can contact the appropriate authorities.
2) If you receive a suspicious email
The only email you should receive from your institution is something along the lines of:
Your bill is ready, please log into your account to see your statement.
And when you proceed to log in, you don’t even need to click the hyperlink provided in the email. Just go to your favourites and click the link that you already trust to log in. Which leads to my next point.
3) Log into your online account to double check
The only information that you should worry about is the information in your online account. If there is a discrepancy in the information from what you thought it should be, call in to the number that you trust to verify the information.
Basically, the idea is that you should take control of your own information and take the initiative to make your own phone calls to ensure that everything is fine. Call the phone number that you trust and use the websites that you already trust. Always double check what a person says over the phone.
More importantly, this may seem like common sense to most of you. But there may be people around you may not be as familiar with these protection steps, so help them out!