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Staying Ahead of Scammers

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Staying Ahead of Scammers

A phone call from an unfamiliar number is not always sinister, but it’s important to be wary of scams and to have confidence that your information is secure.

Avoiding scams can be tough, especially in the current age of digitization, so it is important to be on guard and to think defensively when interacting with a potential scammer. Senior citizens, in particular, are often targets of financial scams, so if you belong to that demographic or you have elderly family members, it’s important to know how to spot a potential scam before falling victim to it.

Some common characteristics of a scam are:

  1. Scammers often claim that it is an “emergency.” You may be contacted with a request for money and told that a loved one is in trouble, that you’ve won a monetary prize and that you only have a certain amount of time to collect, or that you are overdue on a bill. Scammers want you to feel a sense of urgency, in the hopes that you’ll act quickly.
  2. Scammers often request wired money, gift cards, or pre-paid debit cards. These are easy methods for the scammers to get a hold of your money, and, once they have it, it’s incredibly difficult to get it back. Remember, a government agency or reputable company would never ask you to pay a fine or bill with gift cards.
  3. Scammers request personal or financial information, such as your Social Security number or your bank account info. Be wary of anyone who makes these requests. One immediate red flag is a caller not knowing who they’ve called; if they called you, they should know who you are and why they are calling.
  4. Scammers often set up unusual situations, such as a family member being trapped in a foreign country, the arrest of a friend or loved one and their need to post bail, your neglect to pay a large bill, etc. Verify the truth before paying any amount.
  5. Contact from a scammer is always unexpected. It may come in the form of a phone call from a supposed organization that you did not expect to hear from or an email from an account you do not recognize. Be especially wary of unexpected communication requesting money or personal information, if you are not aware of any overdue payments you have.

When it comes to scams, thinking defensively is key. Be on guard and ask questions. When in doubt, if you are contacted by an organization or a business you were not expecting to hear from, look up their phone number online or in a phone book and contact them directly to inquire about the request, instead of using a number that may have been suspiciously provided to you.

Never allow a scammer access to your computer, email, or bank account. These are security concerns that a legitimate contact would not request.

For instance, the IRS will rarely call taxpayers without first issuing a letter by mail. It is best to take the time to ensure that the phone calls and emails you receive are from reputable sources, rather than to take them at face value and potentially lose money or your personal information.

Ambassador Advisors can help you avoid falling prey to scammers. If you have questions about the validity of a financial request, or you suspect that you have already been taken advantage of by a scammer, contact us right away and we can help you navigate the best steps forward.

Investment Advisory Services offered through Ambassador Advisors, LLC a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Any opinions expressed in this forum are not the opinion or view of American Portfolios Financial Services, Inc. (APFS) or American Portfolios Advisors, Inc.(APA) and have not been reviewed by the firm for completeness or accuracy. These opinions are subject to change at any time without notice. Any comments or postings are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell securities or other financial instruments. Readers should conduct their own review and exercise judgment prior to investing. Investments are not guaranteed, involve risk and may result in a loss of principal. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investments are not suitable for all types of investors. To the extent that this material concerns tax matters, it is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by a taxpayer for the purposes of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by law. Each tax payer should seek tax, legal or accounting advice from a tax professional based on his/her individual circumstances.
This material is for informational purposes only. Neither APFS nor its Representatives provide tax, legal or accounting advice. Please consult your own tax, legal or accounting professional before making any decisions. Information has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable and are subject to change without notification. The information presented is provided for informational purposes only and not to be construed as a recommendation or solicitation. Investors must make their own determination as to the appropriateness of an investment or strategy based on their specific investment objectives, financial status and risk tolerance. Past performance is not an indication of future results. Investments involve risk and the possible loss of principal.


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