Recent studies prove that it isn’t uncommon for fraud victims in California to get targeted by scammers over and over again. In fact, there’s even a name for when fraudsters hit consumers with multiple scams during a short period time. It’s called a “reload scam,” and California reload scam victims usually wind up on “sucker lists.” Fraudsters compile and sell these lists on the Dark Web to individuals who use them to commit identity theft or run scams of their own. Luckily, fraud victims can learn scam warning signs so that they’re not habitually targeted. Or, for California consumers who’ve never been defrauded, you can learn to spot scams, avoid them, and never end up on a sucker list.
How Fraud Victims in California Fall Prey to Reload Scams
Typically, when fraudsters hit California residents with multiple scams quickly, they are related in some way. The original fraud opens the door for the next scam, and so on. For example, a lot of reload scam artists start with a basic sweepstakes scam. They call fraud victims and tell them that they’ve won prizes, but they must pay certain fees before claiming these prizes.
Then, if the victim sends the money, the scammers might call as customs officers or IRS agents. Of course, every time they call, they demand some type of fee. The fraudsters may also ask for personal information so that they can either commit identity theft themselves or sell the data on the Dark Web.
As long as these California fraud victims keep paying fees, scammers keep calling. Unfortunately, California consumers fall for these reload scams because they don’t want their “investments” to go to waste. After paying the initial fee, they feel like they have to follow through with whatever it takes to claim the prize they were promised.
Also, many scam artists in California use a technology called “spoofing” to make them seem more legitimate. For instance, if they call an intended victim as an IRS agent, the receiver of the call might see “Internal Revenue Service” on their caller-ID. This is a scary trick that lures in California consumers who normally wouldn’t fall for scams.
How California Consumers Can Avoid Being Fraud Victims Again or Altogether
According to surveys, the average age of fraud victims in California is 40.9 years. However, senior citizens and Millennials are often targeted by fraudsters. Of course, California residents of all ages should do whatever they can to protect themselves against fraud and identity theft. Here are a few of the best ways to keep yourself off sucker lists.
Avoid clicking links in unsolicited emails.
Even if emails look like they’re from legitimate companies or organizations, always check and doublecheck the source before clicking on anything in an email you receive. Otherwise, you could end up as a victim of a phishing scam.
Don’t share personal data or payment information while using public Wi-Fi.
Hackers can easily break into public Wi-Fi networks and steal your information. So, avoid shopping while surfing the internet at airports, restaurants, and shopping malls.
Tighten up the privacy settings on your social media profiles.
If just anyone can access your social media profiles, scammers might get enough information from one of your pages to set up bogus credit card accounts in your name. So, if you have a tendency to share a lot, make it so only “friends” can see your posts and photos.
Use strong passwords and, if possible, change them every month.
This relates back to social media posts too. Unfortunately, if hackers and identity thieves get into your social media accounts, they can learn a lot about you. For this reason, security experts advise against using the names of your children, pets, and favorite sports teams in your passwords. Instead, use random numbers, letters, and symbols to keep your accounts as secure as possible.
Never share personal data or payment information with unverified parties.
When a stranger calls you or sends an email, don’t hand out your private data right away. Even if the person seems official, you can’t be certain of their legitimacy until you verify their identity. Any official person who actually needs personal information from you will understand your skepticism.
Check your financial statements and credit reports regularly.
Finally, no California consumer can keep their information 100% safe all of the time. Sadly, fraudsters, scammers, and identity thieves find ways to steal data and wreak havoc with consumer finances and credit scores. Fortunately, you can catch fraudulent activity and minimize identity theft damage by checking your financial statements and credit reports.
Every few days – or, daily, if possible – check your bank and credit card statements online to check for suspicious activity. As for your credit reports, you should check them at least once every 12 months. This is how often the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA) allows consumers to request a free copy of their credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Just go to www.annualcreditreport.com to get your credit reports from TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian all in one place.
If, while going over your credit reports, you find fraudulent items that indicate identity theft, file a police report right away. You’ll need a copy of this police report in order to recover your credit reports from identity theft damage. Next, contact Credit Repair Lawyers of America in California. The team of credit experts at our firm will handle the credit report recovery process for you. This way, you don’t have to deal with creditors and the credit bureaus on your own. You’ll also get an experienced credit attorney on your side who will get you clean credit reports no matter what it takes – for free.
The Free and Legal Way to Get Better Credit After Identity Theft in California
Don’t let fraudulent items on your credit reports bring your credit score down. At Credit Repair Lawyers of America, we’ve been cleaning up credit reports for consumers since 2008 for free. How do we do it? All of our fees come from the defendants in settled cases. This is why our clients pay nothing for the work we do.
Let’s start the conversation about what we can do for your credit. Set up your free consultation today by calling Attorney Gary Nitzkin at (916) 438-9400 or sending him a message through our contact page.
For more information about Free Credit Repair After Identity Theft, please visit https://www.creditrepairlawyersam.com/california/fix-identity-theft-ca/.