Tips to Prevent Fraud
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- All fraud relies on the criminal learning the victim's personal information. The criminals usually do this by having the victim provide the information for them. The biggest key to preventing fraud is to be vigilant with the protection of your personal information. Criminals are lazy and it is not beneficial for them to invest a lot of time and effort to get one person's information if they can spend the same amount of time and get 10 people's information. Make it hard for the criminal and they typically move on to the next target.
- Criminals count on greed being a factor in their scam. People love to win things, and everyone can use a little extra money from time to time or get a great deal on something. Keep in mind the old saying; If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Most frauds work by integrating some type of emotional dilemma in to the situation. By either causing the victims stress by making them think that there is a problem with their own accounts, or by making the situation sentimental because someone is in need of the victim's assistance are examples of the methods of deception seen most often.
- Each fraud will often progress through a couple of phases. The initial phase is like a romance phase; where the criminal woos you and draws you in. As the fraud progresses and the victim starts to become skeptical of the situation, it is not uncommon for the criminal to start to apply additional pressure or even bully the victim in to continuing the fraud. This is typically done through some type of guilt or threat.
- If you did not initiate the contact, then be cautious. Financial institutions rarely contact people by phone or email and then ask for personal information that can be used in a fraud. Although you may be contacted by your bank, it will typically be by mail or they will ask that you contact the bank on your own because of a problem.
- Do not use the contact information provided to you by the criminal. This is especially true if you are directed to a website link or given a phone number to call. Despite the fact that the websites and phone numbers may look legitimate, the criminals count on the victim being lazy and use the contact information that the criminal provides. Take a couple of extra minutes to research the different ways you can contact the real institution that you are doing business with.
- Never wire money unless you are absolutely certain of the legitimacy of the situation. This includes wiring money to friends or relatives. Criminals use money wire transfers for most of their frauds. As soon as you are asked to wire any money, you should consider this to be an indicator that the situation might be a fraud. Once a wire transfer is initiated, it is rarely cancelled before the criminal claims the funds. Money wire businesses like Money Gram or Western Union will not refund the money.
- Watch for news reports about current scams that are being perpetrated. The specific details of a scam may vary slightly, but the underlining premise always remains the same.
- Finally, use common sense. If the situation does not feel right, then take a moment to evaluate what is going on before you commit to anything. Whenever in doubt, get whatever information you can and then either research the information on your own or contact the police to check on the legitimacy of the situation. It is much easier for the police to take a few minutes to look into something before you become a victim than it is to spend days or weeks investigating a fraud after it has happened.
If you have any questions about fraud or you believe you may be a victim of fraud or a fraud attempt, please do not hesitate to contact the Hanover Police Department. The Hanover PD can be reached by telephone at 603-643-2222, and is staffed 24 hours a day.