In the VSECU Blog you'll find financial and lifestyle resources to help empower possibilities for your personal success.
Elder financial abuse is a problem in Vermont and across the country. Vulnerable adults can fall prey to the scams of strangers and exploitation by family members. According to federal law enforcement data, there have been 200 complaints filed by Vermont seniors in the last 18 months. These complaints represent over $1.9 million dollars in losses. With this type of abuse often being underreported and Vermont having the second-fastest aging population in the country, the true impact is suspected to be much higher.
For the past ten years, the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has been publishing an annual report on giving behavior around the world, with the goal of helping donors and charities make a greater impact. They have surveyed 1.3 million people in 125 countries over the past decade to quantify people’s generosity of both time and money towards people and causes, with the United States topping the list each year. This is no small feat and should remind us of the kindness in the world. We all choose different ways to give: helping strangers, volunteering, and donating money, to name a few. When you’re ready and looking to give, keep in mind that all this financial generosity translates into hundreds of billions of dollars in philanthropy every year. Unfortunately, with so much money involved, some less-than-honorable people look to exploit this good will for personal financial gain.
Since the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial fraud has been on the rise as scammers look to take advantage of how financially vulnerable many of us have become. The Federal Trade Commission has reported large spikes in phishing emails, phony websites, social media scams, and more over the past thirteen months. We’ve written extensively about fraud in the past, but this blog will focus on one type of scam that has become more and more common: the social media scam.
We have explained how spoofing can be used to deceive a fraud victim. Now let’s look at a few other common methods fraudsters use in conjunction with spoofing to gather information and carry out their scams: phishing, vishing, and smishing.
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Between information stolen from data breaches and personal details we share on social media, fraudsters can be equipped with a lot of information about who we are. However, they may need to gather additional information not readily available in order to access our personal and financial accounts and perpetrate their schemes. So that we can better protect ourselves, it is important that we understand some of the typical methods fraudsters use to collect this information. This is the first in a series of blog posts on common fraud tactics. In it, we’ll examine a method known as spoofing.
The modern world is filled with convenience that would have been nearly unimaginable twenty years ago. From where I sit in Montpelier, I can have food delivered from five different grocery stores within two hours. I can place an order online at a local store, have my items gift wrapped, and sent to my family on the other side of the country in only two clicks. Unfortunately, our modern world can also have its drawbacks. Much of the convenience we experience every day relies on putting our personal information on countless websites, order forms, phone trees, social networks, and mobile apps. The more places our information is stored, the more we open ourselves up to fraudulent activity. Luckily, there are some simple ways to reduce risk and keep your information private without sacrificing convenience.
What is a grandparent scam? No, it is not when a child receives a “No” from their parents and then goes and asks their grandparents because they’re more likely to get the answer that they want. It is far more manipulative than that.
It’s that time of year again when we try to find the perfect gifts for our friends and loved ones. We’ll probably be doing most of our holiday shopping online this year to avoid crowded stores. In addition to taking care of your physical health and safety, it is important to be careful with your personal information so that you do not become a victim of cybercrime. Cyber criminals are working overtime during the holiday season when consumers are making more purchases and providing their personal information more frequently. Your information can be stolen from your computer or from the company that you are buying goods from through viruses, malware, and ransomware. Be street smart on the web and use the tools at your disposal to protect yourself from cybercrime. Here are a few tips to help you shop online safely.