4 Ways Millennials Can Avoid Online Financial Scams
As a recent report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) makes clear, it is not only Baby Boomers and seniors who have reason to fear becoming the victims of scams and fraud.
In fact, according to the FTC’s data, roughly 40% of Americans between the ages of 20 and 29 reported losing money to con artists in 2017, compared to only 18% of those 70 and older.
That’s a remarkable piece of information – and it carries with it a grave implicit warning for millennial consumers. Namely? Taking steps to spot, avoid, and prevent scams could make all the difference for their future financial stability.
Recognizing this, perhaps, U.S. News & World Report recently published an article dissecting “4 Ways Millennials Can Avoid Online Financial Scams.”
Written by contributor Geoff Williams, the piece is a sharp and effective look at ….a few commonsense approaches that consumers of all ages can adopt, in order to recognize and protect themselves from the looming threat online financial scams.
So, what do Williams and U.S. News recommend?
Financial Scam: Identity Thieves Love Social Media
In particular, we were struck by the piece’s assertion that “identity thieves love social media.” As Williams writes, “you’ll want to stay cognizant of fraudsters across social media accounts, such as Twitter and Instagram,” paying particular attention to any online fad that asks users to share personal information or answer questions commonly associated with online security, such as “who is your best friend?” or “what was your first pet’s name?”
Financial Scam: Fake Invoices
Another consumer protection soft spot worth watching? As Williams explains, “fake invoices” are becoming a problem spot. He writes:
“You might think you’d never pay a fake invoice, but think again. Consumers have far more subscriptions than they used to. You might be paying every month for movies, music, video games, an online dating service or monthly subscription boxes… It would be very easy to receive a fake bill and believe it’s real.”
Financial Scam: Fishing for Personal Information
And even if you don’t pay out to this scam directly, any suspicious emails or digital invoices could be attempts to ‘fish’ you out of personal information – meaning that clicking a provided link could compromise some of your most sensitive information.
So, what’s a consumer to do? As Williams notes, it pays to be vigilant and take steps to verify any contact you receive online, including giving “the company a call if you are concerned about whether or not [a message or invoice] is real.”
He also notes that:
“…security experts often advise using virtual private networks rather than public networks, changing your passwords often and ensuring your virus protection software is always up to date.”
And, if it’s too late and you’ve already fallen victim to a scam, Williams notes that “there are a few things you’ll want to do,” including getting in contact with your credit card company or financial services provider, filing a fraud statement with the major credit bureaus, taking steps to freeze your credit, and even calling the police.
For more insights, we encourage you to read the full U.S. News & World Report piece, available here.
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Led by Attorney Michael D. Finn with 50 years of experience, the Finn Law Group is a consumer protection firm specializing in timeshare law. Our lawyers understand vacation ownership as well as the many pitfalls of the secondary market of timeshare resales. If you feel you have been victimized by a timeshare company, contact our offices for a free consultation. Know your rights as a consumer and don’t hesitate to drop us a line with any questions or concerns.