Consumer Bureau Offers Tips for Avoiding Scams

Advocate Andy

Bureau highlights common tactics, offers ways to fight financial fraud

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is out with guidance for Americans on how to fight scams targeting people's money.

The CFPB notes that many fraudsters target older Americans, but that all people are at risk from some of these common tricks.

Noted scams often involve methods of transferring money from the victim to the scammer quickly and anonymously. This makes getting your money back after the fact difficult if not impossible. It also makes the scammer difficult to track down.

Here are some common tactics and advice on how to avoid getting caught in a financial scam trap.

Don’t wire money. Wiring money is like sending cash. Once you send it, you usually can’t get it back. Don’t wire money even if someone sends you a check, tells you to deposit it, and wire some of the money back to them.

Don’t pay with a gift card. Gift cards are for gifts. As soon as you tell someone the numbers on the back of the gift card, they get control of the card and your money is gone forever. No legitimate business or government agency will insist that you pay with a gift card.

Don’t pay with cryptocurrency. If someone requires you to pay for something with Bitcoin, Ether, or some other type of cryptocurrency, they’re probably a scammer. Cryptocurrency payments don’t come with legal protections.

Report fraud to the FTC. If you’re contacted by someone telling you to pay or send money using these methods, please tell the FTC about it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov .

If someone is trying to get you to send money in a way that makes you uncomfortable or using a method that can't be traced, you should proceed with caution.

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Andy Spears is a middle Tennessee writer and policy advocate. He reports on news around public policy issues - education, health care, consumer protection, and more.

Nashville, TN
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