Fraud: Prepare like it will hit home.
FEB 06, 2020 by JESSICA MARTIN
As we are more efficient and connected than any other time in history; we cannot overemphasize the risk of fraud. We see real time scams every day in our junk mail, hear it on our phones, and read it in our snail mail. We may have fallen prey to some of the rogue actors out for our identity, our money, or worse. It’s easy to get tunnel vision throughout the day and react to an email that comes our way in the light of “getting things done” or give too much information over the phone. Question: Who reading this has almost forwarded an email request and then realized that it was a phishing scam? Now think of all the emails that are forwarded and requests fulfilled? That translates into a lot of potential and realized crime.
Let’s put this further into perspective. In 20191, there were a total of 3.2 million reports for identity theft, imposter, and telephone/mobile scams. 1.7 million of those reports were fraudulent, and 23% reported losses – totaling a staggering $1.9 billion total loss with a median of $320.
What do you think the odds are that it could happen to you? You got it - highly probable. With tax season heating up and the census about to launch, it’s imperative to be on the lookout for a variety of nefarious tactics. Though tax fraud has decreased 29% over last year, identity fraud has risen 88%. With all statistics aside, it’s important to know what actions to take if you fall victim to one of these swindles.
For education and preparation, we encourage you to visit the USPS, IRS, SEC, FBI, and FTC’s websites. If you find yourself in the middle of a scam, report it immediately. A few websites are listed below:
As an employer, you can take a proactive approach by staying ahead of the trends and educating your staff to recognize – refuse – report. A good rule of thumb is “if you see it, report it”. Visit FTC Explore Data to learn more about prevention, reporting, trends, and top complaints.
Lastly, USPS stated it perfectly, “New Year. New Fraud.” Fraud is no stranger to direct mail tactics. To help prevent fraudulent claims, USPS has implemented the Informed Delivery option. It allows you to review the mail that you are scheduled to receive so you can ensure that no one is stealing important documents that you are expecting. Informed Delivery takes a snapshot of your mail piece-by-piece and emails you in advance of its arrival. It’s a useful tool and highly recommended.
Awareness is half the battle to prevention.