By: Laurie Marshall, MBA, CFP®
In an effort to keep us on our toes, scammers are using new tactics to target prey. Text messages are now commonplace communication from scammers, and some are using tax reform to initiate conversations about your finances, which could lead to trouble.
Just this week, we’ve heard three stories from clients. Luckily, all acted vigilantly. Read on to learn how, and to arm yourself in case you are in a similar situation.
1. John receives a text from his bank, notifying him that his debit card has been temporarily blocked. The text directs him to call a 201 area code telephone number to unblock his card. He senses that this is a fraudulent alert so he calls the telephone number on the back of his debit card. He reports the fraudulent text and the bank blocks his debit card, and issues a new card with a new account number.
Lesson: Only call the telephone number printed on the back of your card for assistance.
2. Susan has her paycheck directly deposited to her account. She verifies that the deposit has been properly credited. A few days later, she again checks her account and notices that funds have been transferred out of the account via an ACH debit. She files a fraudulent transaction report with her bank. The bank credits the funds back to her account immediately while they investigate the fraud.
Lesson: Be vigilant about checking your banking and credit card accounts on a regular basis.
3. Patrice got a call from a company advising her of a new estate plan law. She was told that anyone who has assets over $60,000, even if they have an estate plan, will have to go through probate. She immediately realizes that this information is factually incorrect and hangs up the phone.
Lesson: Never engage in a conversation with someone you don’t know about your financial matters.
If you suspect fraud, don’t engage. If you engage accidentally, protect yourself.