The internet has made wire fraud a common occurrence, easier to commit, and much harder to get caught. In 2017 alone, victims of internet fraud reported nearly $1.5 billion in losses, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. Here are some helpful tips and tricks for keeping your money safe and avoiding becoming a victim of wire fraud.
Be Aware of the Types of Wire Fraud
There are two forms of wire fraud: being scammed, and account takeover. Being scammed often involves someone promising you something too good to be true, or making the victim feel afraid by posing as a government official, relative, or some other trusted source. The goal is to trick a consumer into willingly sending money.
The other form of wire fraud involves account takeover. In this situation, someone gains access to a customer’s personal information and uses it to get access to the account holder’s funds. In 2017, account takeover fraud grew exponentially, with losses reaching over $5 billion, according to Javelin Strategy and Research, an advisory firm for the financial services industry.
Always Work with a Highly Trusted Financial Institution
Many apps, like PayPal and Apple Pay, are great tools for moving your money around, but none are as secure as banks. Financial institutions, including banks, are on the front lines of the battle against cybercriminals and are continually researching scams and developing technology to prevent fraud.
Watch for Phishing Danger Signs
Scammers can be innovative and convincing, and their money requests often appear like official correspondence. That’s why it’s crucial to pay close attention. Look for inconsistencies in email addresses, website addresses, and domain names. Also, always be wary if someone seems to push you to decide to send them money quickly. Scammers will try to create a sense of urgency so that their victims won’t question why they want an immediate transfer of funds
Protect Your Real Estate Transaction by Using a Professional Real Estate Broker
If you’re buying or selling a home or renting a home, be extra careful. In 2017, according to the FBI, there were nearly 10,000 victims of real estate crimes in the U.S.A, with losses well over $56 million. A professional real estate broker will help you avoid becoming a statistic because they have the experience necessary to guide you and keep everything legal.
Sign Up for Account Alerts
Many banks will send digital alerts to your smartphone if there is unusual banking activity on your account. If your bank offers a digital alert program, sign up for it right away. These alerts provide an opportunity for you to be proactive and take immediate action.
Take Immediate Action if You Suspect Fraud
If you think you might have been scammed, or that someone is trying to scam you, time is of the essence. Contact your bank or credit union immediately and request that it contact the corresponding financial institution where the fraudulent transfer was sent. You can also contact your local FBI office.
Knowing how scammers work and the resources available to help you fight these types of cries is essential toward protecting yourself against scammers and wire fraud. The more you learn about these dangers and the tools available to help you avoid such problems, the better prepared you’ll be to protect your funds. If you have questions, contact Primary Residential Mortgage. We’re always happy to help.
Note: Opinions expressed are solely my own and do not express the views of my employer