Get the latest local business news delivered FREE to your inbox weekly.
It seems like every day there’s a new warning about financial scams circulating, with the scammers getting more and more creative. Many people think that it could never happen to them, and then they find themselves on the phone with their bank trying to recoup their losses.
On the latest episode of PennyWise, host Nat Cardona is joined by Kimberly Palmer of NerdWallet with tips on how to avoid falling for common scams and what to do in case you do.
Read more on NerdWallet here!
About this program
Nat Cardona is host of PennyWise as well as Lee Enterprise’s true-crime podcast Late Edition: Crime Beat Chronicles. Lee Enterprises produces many national, regional and sports podcasts. Learn more here.
Note: The following transcript was created by Adobe Premiere and may contain misspellings and other inaccuracies as it was generated automatically:
Welcome to Pennywise a Lee Enterprises podcast. I’m your host, Nat Cardona.
One of the biggest mistakes when it comes to protecting yourself from financial scams is thinking you’re too smart to be duped by one. It can literally happen to anyone, regardless of age or circumstance. I mean, come on. There are a lot of sophisticated scams out there. But thankfully, Nerdwallet personal finance writer Kimberly Palmer joins us today with a few key strategies to help keep you safe.
Man, those scammers are really sneaky out there. Let’s talk about that. If you get a call from your bank, probably not legit. Let’s go into that.
Exactly. One of the most common scams out there is your bank or some kind of financial institution calling you. But it’s not really your bank. It’s someone. It’s a scam artist, essentially impersonating your bank. And because they can be so convincing, they actually convince people who have picked up the phone to share their personal information, share things like passwords, Social Security numbers, all kinds of personal details that they then use to steal your money or steal your identity.
And so you want to be so careful whenever you get a phone call from anyone or a text message or an email you want to verify who it is. So actually, even though it feels rude, you want to say, I’m going to hang up and call my bank myself, and then you get the verified number on the back of your bank card or wherever you have it and call yourself.
And that’s the only way to really know who you’re talking to.
Right. And just for clarity sake. Scammers can spoof numbers. I’ve had this happen personally where it says your banking institution, it’s the exact same number, whatever, one 800 number calling you. But again, it’s you should call that not the other way around.
Exactly. I’m so glad you mentioned that, because it can be so convincing. And also, when you get that call, they are often the most pleasant kind of sounding customer service reps you’ve ever spoken to. But it’s all a scam. Just trying to get to trying to trick you.
Right. Right. And a lot of that comes back to general security practices, especially when you’re banking online and on your phone and all of that jazz. Any tips there?
The most important thing is just to make sure that you are constantly monitoring your own accounts, because often the first sign of a scam is even a really small deduction, like a $5 deduction that you don’t recognize. And it’s a way for the scam artists to really test if they can go bigger and subtract more money from your account.
So you want to be regularly reviewing your credit card statements, your banking statements, most importantly, to look for anything you don’t recognize. And if there is something that seems out of place, you want to call and investigate because then you can shut down. If there is a scam starting to take place, you can shut that down. And then also you want to just be sure that you have strong passwords across all your accounts.
Set up two factor authentication so a person can’t log in with only the password but needs to get that code. Also texted or emailed to you as well just to make sure all those accounts are safe.
Yeah, I 100% agree with that. That two factor authentication authentication is just that has changed my life and given me such a peace of mind just because there’s so many goofy things that people are trying to get at us. Let’s go into that. The common scams that might come your way. Aside from the banking one that we mentioned, anything you want to add there?
It’s really helpful, I think, to know what those common scams are. So every year, the Federal Trade Commission basically puts out a list of the top scams. And so they include things like impersonating institutions like we talked about. Also fake sweepstakes. So someone you get in a letter or an email saying that you won something, but of course it’s just a way to get your personal information.
Fake job postings, especially for remote work that has really taken off and then, sadly, romance scams. So if you’re, you know, online dating have a profile, you ought to be really careful about whoever is reaching out to you.
Definitely. If it’s good, too good to be true in any sense. It’s it is. It always is the one thing and I wonder if it fits here. I just personally experienced this lesson a week ago. I was selling some stuff on Facebook Marketplace and there are like the cash app scams, whether it be Venmo or Zelle, where people will comment on your post right away message you and then they are trying to get.
It’s a crazy swapping of information like they’re they want your, you know, whatever email or phone number you use with your cash app account. And then there’s I had to look into this whole thing because it happened repeatedly and I was like, What the heck is going on? And it was the yeah, I think I don’t remember what, but some site that protects people was explaining that yes, this is a scam that people do.
Again, it’s just like trying to get a hold of your information in this really roundabout way and it can really cut you off guard when you feel like you’re in the right place doing the right thing. So just lots.
It’s so frustrating. And you think that you’re, you know, connecting with a real person, but it actually turns out to be just the scammer.
Yeah. Yeah. It’s the it’s the mental pretzel stuff. Like, it’s hard to trust anyone sometimes, but let’s say you one of those scams that you mentioned has come across your your computer screen or your phone. What do you do in that case?
Well, the first thing you want to do, if you actually have shared any of your personal details, is to immediately alert your bank. You might your bank will probably suggest that you change your bank account, you know, shut down the old one or the new one just to keep that money safe. If you have actually shared anything with anyone who has contacted you and then you want to report it, because if we report scams, it makes it easier for the authorities to track them, to find patterns and of course, to track down these scam artists.
And so there’s a whole bunch of places you can report scams to the Federal Trade Commission, your state attorney general’s office, the FBI, even your local police station, just like any theft. And so you definitely want to do that. Unfortunately, when you do have money stolen from you in this way, it can be really hard to recover it.
And so even if you do report it to the police station, it doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily see that money again. Sadly, that’s the really tragic thing about these scams. But you might be helping other people, you know, prevent this fraud from continuing.
Definitely. It’s one of those things it’s okay to be hyper about and be very, very cautious about. Do you have your walls and guards up? I’m all there.
Yes, exactly. And I think one interesting thing is that it can really happen to anyone. There’s so much kind of shame and embarrassment around scams because you feel like it’s your fault for falling for something. But I think that it’s so important to let go of that feeling of embarrassment and shame, because really anyone can fall for a scam.
These scam artists have gotten so sophisticated that it’s not your fault at all. You shouldn’t, you know, be embarrassed. And we just want to try to prevent it from happening again.
Thank you for imagining that, because I know people that have had that experience and I’ve had that experience myself where I just got duped, that I never very good, but you live, you learn.
Get the latest local business news delivered FREE to your inbox weekly.
Parents whose kids bought virtual gear without their knowledge on the popular Fortnite video game could soon be able to get a refund.
After a more than three-year pause, payments on federal student loans resume in October, but some student loan borrowers may be more cash-stra…
The return of federal student loan payments in October has the potential to derail your finances, especially if you’re already struggling with…
Sept. 8, the Friday after Labor Day, marks National 401(k) Day — the day Americans are encouraged to check their retirement readiness. But wha…
Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.