iStock_000001433984LargeIn 2013, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) registered more than two million consumer fraud events costing Americans over 1.6 billion dollars. Technology provides con artists with handy ways to commit fraud; just as authorities catch on to a scam, these criminals alter their tactics and find new ways to trick people out of their money.

Anyone can be a victim of fraud, but con artists particularly enjoy targeting the retirement community. Protect your bank account from fraud by keeping an eye out for these common scams:

Retirement account scams. One common scam involves tempting offers to dramatically increase the size of your retirement savings. It’s easy to be lured in by the promise of a more luxurious lifestyle in retirement, but it could cost you your entire retirement savings. Remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Stick with a trusted advisor who can help you safely grow your nest egg.

Phony prizes. Be especially wary if you receive a phone call informing you that you’ve won a prize – but you must come to a store or other location in order to retrieve it. This is often nothing more than a ploy to get you out of your home, so that burglars can take advantage of your absence.

Credit card offers. It’s a great idea to shop around for a credit card with lower fees or a better interest rate. However, do this only by contacting reputable banks yourself. A common scam involves phone calls or online ads posing as a credit card company, offering to get you a better rate. It sounds like a tempting offer, so you might willingly fill out a fake application. Now you’ve handed over your Social Security number and other personal information. Remember not to give this information to anyone who contacts you. Check out the company first, and contact them to apply for a card.

Cramming. This common scam involves tempting you to enter online auctions (which are fake) in order to win popular items at ridiculously low prices. But first, you must enter your cell phone number. If you fall for this one, you end up subscribing to a text message service and you will be charged a monthly fee on your cell phone bill. The con artist hopes you never notice this item on your bill.

This information has been provided by a Licensed Insurance Professional and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting insurance professional.  The statements and opinions expressed are those of the author and are subject to change at any time.  All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, presenting insurance professional makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. This material has been prepared for informational and educational purposes only.  It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, accounting, legal, tax or investment advice.

13606 – 2014/8/5