An unfortunate drawback of technology is that it is becoming easier to utilize it for deception and harm. This is best exemplified by the sheer number of false claims and scams that are crafted and dispelled to target innocent people of all backgrounds.

Although these scams come in countless forms, they often appear as guarantees to earn large returns, or even as a criminal posing as a trustworthy institution which is attempting to protect their patrons from other financial scams.

While it may seem nearly impossible to discern between honest and dishonest activities, one can do just that by employing some of the best practices that are designed and recommended by legitimate banks, financial institutions, and government entities. With that in mind, let us explore the ways in which you can effectively protect yourself from financial scams.

Conduct thorough research

No matter if you are approached by a stranger or a member of your own family or friend group, it is imperative you do your due diligence and verify the legitimacy of the cause or company they are representing. This can be achieved by asking them detailed questions, or by simply searching for a company or individual online. More often than not, the results will often confirm whether or not their ventures are legitimate, and can do a brunt of the decision-making for you.

Additionally, if a strange request seems to be coming from a financial institution you do business with, one of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to simply pick up the phone and call your point of contact to ask about the legitimacy of an email you have received.

Do not be afraid to ignore solicitors

If you did not initiate the contact you are receiving, you have every right to hang up the phone or delete their email. You are not obligated to take action in any way, shape, or form. However, if the scam is hiding behind the ruse of being an official warrant, such as the IRS scam that has been scaring taxpayers for years, there are some important steps you must take.

Report any and all suspicious activity to official institutions

First of all, ensure you gather the contact information of the source that you spoke to. Secondly, contact the legitimate bureau or financial institution and repeat the claims you were given via that previous phone call or email. Then, ask them to confirm or deny that they were trying to establish contact with you.  

If you were, in fact, contacted by one of their representatives, your job is done! Simply address the issue they reached out to you about and move on accordingly.

On the other hand, if you were not contacted by one of the institution’s representatives, ensure you report the scam you nearly fell victim to and provide the contact information you had previously recorded. Rest assured the professionals will handle the situation appropriately from there.

Financial scams can be the most devastating, as they often have a severe impact on one’s lifestyle and overall quality of life. However, by remaining diligent and maintaining a healthy level of skepticism, one should be able to deflect the harmful and illegitimate activities that cross their path.