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Fraud Risks to Watch For

November 25th, 2012 · blog, Guest Post

The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 helps to protect “whistleblowers” or employees of companies committing financial fraud. However, one congressional act will not stop fraudsters from committing their crimes.

Senior Citizens Beware

Scammers target senior citizens for two reasons. The first is that seniors tend to be less likely to hang up the phone or slam the door in the face of a scammer. Seniors may also have fewer decision making ability skills due to dementia or medications needed to control painful chronic conditions. The second reason seniors are targeted by scammers is because many have financial nest eggs tucked away to see them through retirement.

Any phone call, email or letter promising deals that are too good to be true should immediately be considered scams. Seniors also should never give money to anyone coming to the door claiming to be collecting for charity. Seniors should also never give out personal information online or over the phone, such as their social security number or credit card number.

Handling Important Documents

Those annoying junk mail letters that arrive in the mail may contain information for a scammer to steal your name and harm your credit score. Open all junk mail, especially credit card offers, to see if there is any information on it that a scammer can use. Scammers can take a pre-approved credit card and pretend to be you. You will get the bill. If it has your name, your business name and an account number on it, then this document needs to be shredded.

Never let junk mail pile up outside of your home or office. This is a big signal that you are not around often. Have someone you trust bring these letters in every day. Shred copies of bills, medical receipts or other information that you do not need. Keep documents and bills that you do need in a locked drawer. Only carry around the bare minimum of documents, such as a driver’s license and one credit card in case these are stolen.

Check Your Credit Report Annually

Check your credit report at least once a year, especially if you own a business. Having credit problems can make an invoice factoring company or a bank deny you loans or business lines of credit. Americans are entitled to a free credit report every year from three companies. This lets you immediately see any financial fraud committed in your name, such as someone applying for a mortgage or other large purchases.

These are a few easy steps to take to protect yourself. By doing so, you will prevent worry, and possible financial problems later.

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Nora Charles is a freelance writer that has worked with many bloggers for several years now.

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