Dealing with scams and identity theft

Scams are on all forms of media and can be very intrusive. Calls from 1-800 numbers, fake ads on websites, and phishy emails can all lure people into sending money to unknown sources that are trying to take your money. Here are some tips to avoid scams and different scams to look out for.

Tips for Dealing with Scams

Scams to look out for


There are many good legitimate jobs advertised on Craigslist but be sure to look out for these warning signs of scams when responding to job ads:

Do not send personal information (Social Security number, bank account number, etc.)

Verify information in ad, keep track of who you speak to

Let someone know where you’re going, if you attend in-person interview.

Social Media 

Ads are the easiest way for social media scammers to make their money. They will post ads that look similar to other companies and often offer some type of service. If you click on an ad, it will take you to another page that may have the appearance of a legitimate website.

Phishing Scams

What is phishing? Phishing is usually a two-part scam involving an email or text message containing links to a fraudulent website requesting sensitive information such as username, password, and account details. Once obtained, your personal and financial information can be used to access your account and steal money.

Phishing Emails

Phishing emails are becoming  harder to tell from real emails. By impersonating a company’s communications, these emails tend to use clever and compelling language, such as an urgent need for you to update your information or communicate with you for your security. To spot a phishing email, look for a combination of red flags. In this example, notice:

Phishing Texts

Phishing texts use similar techniques as phishing emails: a sense of urgency to secure your account or verify your identity, using words like “blocked,” “deactivated”, or “for your protection” to describe your account status. These texts may prompt you to call a phone number, click on a link, or respond directly with personal or account information. To spot a phishing text, look for a combination of red flags. In this example, notice:

Identity Theft

The consequences of Identity Theft can be incredibly traumatic and can leave a long lasting effect on your credit. Thieves can take money from your accounts and open new credit card accounts. Here are some steps of what to do if your identity is stolen and how you can protect yourself from identity theft.

Steps to take if your identity is stolen

Contact Fraud Department of Credit Bureaus

You should request a fraud alert, which will have no effect on your credit score. You can also request a security freeze which will prevent credit issuers from accessing your credit files so that those trying to steal your identity cannot open new credit cards or loans

Reach Out to Banks

Contact any banks that you have created accounts with. You can report your identity theft to them and they will send you replacement cards with new account numbers. If you were issued a checkbook and some of your checks were stolen, you can ask the bank to stop the payment. 

Protecting yourself from Identity Theft

Safely navigate the internet

Do not share social security numbers, credit card numbers, or any other sensitive information online. When you are checking your email, if you see any spam looking emails that are requesting personal information, delete them.

Get rid of financial records

You should destroy any personal financial information that is in paper copy (financial statements, ATM/debit card transaction receipts, etc.)

Protect your social security number

Never carry your social security card unless it is absolutely necessary. Identity thieves can use your social security number to open fake accounts under your name and access your credit. Try to memorize your social security number if you can.

Monitor fraud

Continuously check your credit report to monitor fraudulent activity. Check to get a free copy from each of the three credit bureaus.

Protect Personal information

Never give out your personal information unless you believe the source is trustworthy.