May 6, 2019
Janice Harter, ProFed Credit Union
The Internet has made sharing information with family and friends easier than ever. Unfortunately, it has also made it easier than ever for fraudsters to scam people and steal money and identities.
The “Call Grandma” scam works by having a sobbing young person call and pretend to be a grandchild in some dire predicament who urgently needs grandma to wire them money.
The “Online Romance” scam works by wooing lonely individuals with promises of love. Soon, there will be some type of emergency and the victim will be conned into wiring funds.
Money lost this way often cannot be recovered. According to the FTC, $142 million in losses were reported due to this scam last year. The real numbers are probably much higher as many people are embarrassed to report the fraud.
You can help keep you and your family safer by taking precautions:
- If you have an elderly family member, make sure someone is helping review their finances.
- NEVER respond to phone calls, texts or emails that threaten dire consequences unless you send money immediately. The IRS, the police and the FBI do not conduct business this way.
- Do not rely on caller ID for identity- caller IDs can be faked.
- If you have a home Wi-Fi, make sure you use at least an eight character password for it.
- Never connect to public Wi-Fi systems that do not require passwords.
- Keep your phone locked and password protected. Install a program like Find My iPhone so you can track and wipe your device if it is lost or stolen.
- Do not use the same password for every site that requires a password.
- Change your passwords periodically, use a password keeper to help keep track and enable touch ID when possible.
- Do not answer questions from unsolicited callers.
- Shred your important papers. Get your statements and bills online so thieves cannot steal them from your mailbox.
- Check your social media settings – make them private. Do not accept friend requests from people you do not know. Do not participate in online personality quizzes.
- Listen to your gut – if something seems too good to be true; it probably is.
- Monitor your children’s usage on all electronic devices.
- Use a reputable antivirus and firewall on your computer and update them regularly.
- Don’t click on links in suspicious emails or pop-ups.
Keeping yourself and your families safe from cybercrime can be a daunting task, but you can lessen your risk.
Phone: (260) 496-1319