Financial security involves more than having a retirement plan or a way to accumulate wealth. It also requires being vigilant to protect your finances so you don’t fall victim to fraud.
Sunday marked the start of National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), an annual coordinated campaign that promotes resources available online from government agencies and consumer organizations to help people make smarter buying decisions and spot rip-offs. Created 19 years ago by the Federal Trade Commission in conjunction with more than 100 agencies and organizations on the front lines of consumer protection, NCPW aims to bring consumer fraud protection to the forefront of everyone’s mind.
Many Americans assume victims of scams are usually from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, naive about finances or older and more vulnerable. According to a 2014 AARP study, however, many of those stereotypes aren’t true. No one is immune to scam artists, and anyone connected to the Internet should be aware of common high-risk activities.
The study, “Caught in the Scammer’s Net,” found nearly two-thirds of Americans who use the Internet received at least one online scam offer in 2013. Because they are familiar with investment products, financially literate and financially stressed people are usually more susceptible to investment fraud than those who would never purchase investment products to begin with. While older adults are more likely to lose a significant amount of money to fraud, younger adults – who are more active online – are actually more vulnerable to succumbing to fraud.
Lonely people are at a higher risk as well. According to AARP, 66 percent of victims having identified themselves as “often or sometimes feeling isolated.” Dating websites have become prime avenues for scammers to prey on vulnerable people. Hardship frequently lures con artists, with many scams aimed at those coping with legal issues or the aftermath of a natural disaster.
National Consumer Protection Week’s website, www.ncpw.gov, lists organizations, government agencies, tools, tips and resources to help you and your family make more informed buying decisions and recognize, guard against and report scams and fraud. Protecting your personal and financial information is our top priority. If you would like more information about the safeguards we have in place to protect your finances, please contact our office. Call Jordan Dechtman, your Denver wealth manager at 303-741-9772, email him at Jordan@JordanDechtman.com or visit our website at www.JordanDechtman.com to schedule an appointment.