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Five ways to protect yourself from fraud

Fraud and scams seem to be everywhere today. Nightly news features continually report on how scammers tricked unknowing consumers into emptying their pockets under false pretenses. With the prevalence and increasingly convincing nature of scams, how can you protect yourself from becoming another victim?

Vigilance and preparation can go a long way

Scams are not exclusive to pop-up ads or questionable pieces of mail. Fraudulent activity can occur when you least expect it, including in a transaction with a home contractor you trusted or in a hack to your bank account you so carefully guard. Here are five ideas for how to watch for scams or fraud:

  1. Be skeptical of door-to-door sales. Salespeople and contractors going door to door are not always trying to trick you. However, you should be cautious before giving any personal information. Contractors going from house to house are especially common following a storm or tornado.
  2. Read the fine print. Carefully review any contract you receive. Question any blank spaces, which could later contain terms that benefit the seller rather than you. If a substantial purchase is involved, consider having an attorney review the contract.
  3. Do your research. Offers that sound too good to be true just might be. On the other hand, threats of payments you owe might be scammers trying to take advantage of you. Search for phrases like "IRS scam" or "complaint" next to the phone number or company to reveal if others experienced the same situation.
  4. Carefully consider payment options. If you were requested to wire money or pay for a large part of a project upfront, consider the implications of this. Credit cards can offer some protection against fraud but you may be unable to get your money back from a check, debit card payment or other payment method.
  5. Consistently review your financial statements. Keep a watchful eye on your bank accounts, credit report, credit card statements and more. Catching an error immediately can be crucial to correct the issue before it gets even worse. You can check your credit report for free once a year from the three major credit bureaus.

Scams and fraudulent activity affect many Texans each year. Staying alert and doing your research can help to protect you and your family from an untimely and unwelcome surprise. When in doubt, consider your options and reach out for help.

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100 W. Oak St
Suite 103
Denton, TX 76201

Phone: 940-215-0707
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