When the markets get shaky, scammers know that a lot of us are uncertain about what to do, and that we may be vulnerable to falling victim to a scam.
A couple of things to watch out for include fake information being posted online or on social media telling you to buy or sell a particular investment, scary e-mails or text messages that trick you into releasing personal information or to click on links loaded with malware, or phone calls from someone who claims to be with a trusted business or group who tries to convince us to withdraw funds, deposit the funds on to prepaid debit cards, and then provide numbers from these cards to the scammer over the phone.
A lot of us may be nervous and uncertain with the markets at this time. But, before you release personal information or conduct financial transactions, it is critical to check things out with qualified, reputable professionals.
Do not be quick to trust what you see online, via email or text, even if it seems like it is coming from someone you know.
Check things out by making a few calls to a few sources so that you know what you are talking about and to whom. If someone is pressuring you to take quick action, the information seems confusing or vague, or just does not seem right, trust your gut instinct and steer clear.
If you are not sure if something is a scam or if you get scammed, there are a number of resources for getting information and help.
FINRA, a government authorized organization that oversees broker dealers in the U.S. has a lot of good information on their website and can assist you in taking action if you fall victim to an investment scheme.
You might also be able to get help from the Federal Trade Commission , Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, or Wisconsin’s Office of the Commissioner of Insurance.
OurCall 4 Action Office can also assist in providing education, resources, and mediation of consumer related issues.