Thursday, October 31, 2013

Modern Day Horror Stories: 'And Then My Money ... Vanished'

Computer Hacker with maskGetty Images They come slinking out of the shadows like disembodied spirits, trying to steal your life and all that goes with it. No, not ghosts, ghouls or vampires: We're talking about a more modern diabolical threat -- identity thieves looking to make off with your hard-earned cash. On this day of tricks and treats, we offer you a few tales of the unfortunate victims of such tricks -- and treat you to some advice about what to do if it happens to you. Double Trouble Credit card fraud affects around 10 percent of all Americans each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission, so odds are it will strike you at some point. Keeping an eagle eye on your credit card charges is key -- the sooner you alert your credit card issuer to fraudulent charges, the faster you can stop the crook. The good news is, credit card companies have become quite familiar with fraudsters' patterns now, and most are good about removing the charges quickly. Ghouls Go Shopping There's not much you can do to thwart a determined thief other than keep a close watch on your wallet. But carrying only one card around can at least make the theft a little less painful. It's also a good idea to photocopy all your cards, front and back, in case you need to contact your banks and credit card companies quickly. Bad News Bidders Phishing has become ubiquitous -- if you have an email account, it's likely you've been targeted -- and the tricksters are moving their scams to text messages now, too: Ferris Research says more than 4 million phishing texts were sent in 2012. There's one fail-safe way to avoid phishing scams that look like they come from your bank, credit card issuer, or popular sites like eBay (EBAY) and Paypal. Simply delete the message and type the company's web address directly into your browser. If the message is legitimate, eBay, Paypal, and many financial companies store it in an online "message center" in your profile that you can access from their sites. If you're really concerned, call the company to check. There are plenty of scammers out there, but you can keep scary situations from becoming true nightmares with a little knowledge and planning. Happy Halloween!

No comments:

Post a Comment