Preventing Fraud in 2020
Although fraud is a serious topic with potentially devastating consequences, here at Investigation Hotline we have helped thousands of people avoid becoming victims of fraud and undoing the damage this type of crime can have on an individual or corporation. We are here to help any of those in need, so use us as a lifeline in times of need.
Fraud is the use of intentional deception and using false or misleading information in an attempt to make unfair or unlawful gains while depriving a victim of their legal rights, money or property. Perpetrators of such crimes may be punished through fines and/or imprisonment and being the victim of fraud can be devastating financially and emotionally.
As we enter 2020, here are some common fraud schemes to be aware of:
- Credit card fraud. This type of fraud occurs when the perpetrator uses a victims credit or debit card (or a similar payment tool) to fraudulently obtain their money or property. Simple ways to avoid this type of fraud include avoiding giving out your credit and debit card numbers online unless the site is secure and reputable, be aware of security and encryption software, do your homework on a website’s credibility, be wary of unsolicited offers and deals, use credit cards where you can (as you can dispute the charges if something goes wrong), etc.
- Advance fee schemes. This form of fraud consists of scamming the victim of money with the promise of delivering something greater in value, such as a loan, contract, investment or a gift. The red flag in this situation is that the perpetrator will ask for little or nothing in return for their “generosity”. A good rule of thumb to avoid becoming the victim of this scam is that if the offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Pyramid Schemes. A pyramid scheme (also known as “franchise fraud” or “chain referral schemes”) involves offering victims their own distributorship with the goal of recruiting more people to do the same. The promise of riches is overshadowed by the delicacy of a pyramid scheme where the pyramid may collapse and the individuals involved may make no money at all (and lose their investment). Be wary of opportunities to invest your money that require you to recruit others.
- Skimming. Skimming occurs when devices are installed illegally in ATMs, point of sale terminals or fuel pumps in order to collect important data (i.e. credit card numbers) and PIN numbers of the individuals who use them. With this critical information, perpetrators of fraud can steal from these victim’s accounts. It is estimated that financial institutions and consumers lose over $1 billion annually to skimming. To avoid becoming the victim of skimming, inspect any device where you are inserting your credit card. Ensure there are no damages or odd details and pull at the edges of the keypad to make sure it cannot be easily removed. Be particularly wary in areas with high tourist volume.
Other popular fraud schemes include telemarketing fraud, ponzi schemes, internet fraud, identity theft and counterfeit prescription drugs.
Know when to be wary. Know the dangers. If you are worried, call your private investigator.