BBB tips: How to secure your identity
Better Business Bureau highlights National Consumer Protection Week
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - March 5-11 is National Consumer Protection Week, as observed by the Federal Trade Commission — and it’s a great time for consumers to remind themselves of the varied ways they can take action to keep scammers out of their business.
After all, there is no “National Scam Consumers Week” for these con artists; every week of the year they are after you. But you can even the odds and tip them in your favor by remembering a few of your Better Business Bureau’s tips.
BBB is one of many partnering organizations with the FTC, spotlighting the weeklong emphasis on stopping financial scams.
The FTC specifically designates the week as “a time for helping people understand their consumer rights and avoid frauds and scams.” Visit their website at ftc.gov for a list of webinars and other events that are directed toward that goal. You’ll also find links to many consumer protection resources at the site.
QUICK TIPS TO PROTECT YOUR FINANCES
Arm yourself with BBB’s timeless tips for protecting your finances. Keep the following practices should be top-of-mind all 52 weeks of the year:
Don’t trust the appearance of legitimacy. Scammers are adept at making their websites and emails look legit. They copy and paste logos and graphics from real online sources to trick you into believing their lies.
Don’t trust Caller ID. It’s easily “spoofed” to read any way a scammer wants it to read.
Don’t trust links and attachments that come in unsolicited emails and texts. Clicking on them can put malware on your device.
Don’t trust strangers who ask you to send money, especially by wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card. It’s always a scam.
Do trust online sources when their website address contains the “s” in “https.” Look for the lock icon in the address bar as well.
Be suspicious of anyone you meet on Craigslist, on a dating site, or on social media. Scammers lie and are good at it.
All your personal identification information is highly valuable. Giving away just a tiny portion of it can be enough for a skilled scammer to put together a fake version of you. Closely guard your banking info, Social Security, and insurance numbers.
Make time your ally. Scammers pressure you to act quickly so you won’t be able to thoroughly consider their offer. Take your time. If they are legit they will gladly let you.
Resist the urge to overshare on social media. Scammer mine Facebook, and Twitter to learn details about your identity. Be especially careful about sharing travel plans until after the fact.
Monitor your accounts carefully. The devil is in the details. Thieves will start with a tiny amount to see if you’re paying attention, then move to bigger amounts if you don’t.
Use strong passwords and 2-step verification on all your online accounts. Always update your software and virus protections when prompted.
Remember that you have a strong advocate in BBB. Visit bbb.org and check out BBB ScamTracker to find out what scammers are up to in your area and what consumers have experienced.
For more questions or concerns about your consumer protection rights, go to bbb.org.
Join 6 News Anchor Jacqueline Fernandez at the Alert Center every Friday at noon. Watch her livestreams on our website, in our apps, and on our Facebook and YouTube pages.
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