In this webinar, you’ll discover some helpful tips to protect yourself and your loved ones from fraud.
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Good afternoon, and welcome to today's webinar, How to Fight Off Fraud. My name is Michelle Graff, and I'll be moderating today's session, compliments of U.S. Bank.
Before we get started, I'll go over a few housekeeping items. All participants have been placed on Listen Only mode to prevent any background noise. Today's webinar features PowerPoint and polls. There will not be a live Q&A session today. If you have any questions following the call, book your appointment with a banker at usbank.com backslash book.
Please share your feedback with us directly using the post-session survey. This Webex conference will be recorded. If you object to this recording, you must disconnect from the conference line at this time. I'm turning on the recording now.
We'll start with a poll. Please use the radio buttons on the right side of the Webex screen to tell us how scammers attempt to reach you. You'll have three minutes to take the poll. Now I'll turn it over to today's presenters. Take it away, Dave.
Thanks a lot, Michelle. My name is Dave Newman. I'm an employee of U.S. Bank. I've been here for 19 years now, and I've been in several different roles. I started in branch management, and then I moved into product management. And most recently, I've been in risk management, specifically enterprise fraud risk management.
When I'm looking at this subject, the one that we're going to talk about today, financial exploitation of older Americans or elder financial exploitation, I look back on my career and I see many different opportunities that I had to make an impact, first in branch management working directly with customers that may or may not be experiencing exploitation directly.
Then secondarily in product management where we worked on some products that were designed and built to help keep our customers safe. And most recently in fraud risk, where we have the opportunity to educate, monitor, and guide the entire bank in dealing with all types of fraud, especially elder financial exploitation.
Back in the day when I was in product management, we did a lot of work to make June Elder Financial Exploitation Month at the bank. And we created a phrase, recognize, react, and report. My hope is that today, everyone that's listening is going to strive to recognize, react, and report exploitation when they see it.
Thanks, Michelle, and Dave. I had to have muted myself. My name is Kate Kramer. I'm a Policy Analyst with the Office for Older Americans at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and I focus my work in the areas of age-friendly banking, financial technology, other financial exploitation, and protecting people who are living in assisted living communities and nursing homes from financial abuse.
Before I came to CFPB, I worked with older adults who had experienced crimes. So that included many different types of financial crimes, fraud, and exploitation. And that was at an area agency on aging in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Before that I worked as a legal services attorney, and I had a focus on family law, guardianship, bankruptcy, and consumer law. Just want to say thanks so much for inviting me to join you today. I'm looking forward to our conversation.
Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Mark Gonzalez. I am a Senior Consumer Affairs Specialist for the Division of Depositor and Consumer Protection at the FDIC. I began my career with the FDIC during the height of the last financial crisis in early 2009, serving as a subject matter expert on deposit insurance coverage and consumer protection assistance.
In Consumer Affairs, our primary responsibility is that of consumer protection. We work in providing consumers with financial education, resources. We assist the public in complaints, insurance inquiries, and publications. And I am very pleased to be here today. Thank you so much for the invitation.
So I wanted to kick us off by talking a little bit about how 2020 affected all of us. I'm pretty sure that most people are probably a little bit tired of talking about 2020 at this point, but it's important because unfortunately, the pandemic amplified a few of the things and the risks associated with financial exploitation, especially for older Americans.
For the past year, we were encouraged to stay at home as much as we could with minimal in-person contact. So for older Americans, the pandemic was going to affect them at a greater rate than some other folks, which put them in a position of needing to isolate.
And sometimes with isolation comes loneliness. And so if you take that and you amplify it to folks that might be at higher risk for exploitation, we're introducing a situation where you have folks that are going to potentially be more vulnerable than they were before. Now we want to take a look at how we can move into the future, but it also gives us an opportunity to recognize some of the things that can happen that are out there.
Thanks, Dave. And as you pointed out, Dave, the pandemic and its health and economic consequences, they turned our lives upside down last year. For many folks, the pandemic has forced them to take their financial activity into unfamiliar territory, leaving many vulnerable to scammers. All of the sudden, you now have to go online to complete your financial activities such as payments, look at your balances, even deposit money.
I was telling my presenter colleagues the other day that for the first time in his life, my dad paid his mortgage online last month. Of course, with a little help from me, but this was very new to him. He had never done it, and he couldn't believe how effective this was. He was used to writing the check, sending it by mail, and this was very new to him.
So his fear of the financial world is very-- of the online financial world, it's very legitimate. However, this presentation should point to some very important resources that will help in preventing consumer harm. Before I hand it over back to Dave who will share few statistics, Michelle has the results from the poll that she would like to share with us.
Thanks, Mark. And it looks like the results from the poll are in. It looks like all the above are how scammers tend to reach you the most with a close follow-up with C, the phone. So back to Dave for some important statistics on fraud.
Yeah, that makes sense. All of the above, right? Because I'm going to share some statistics here on the page. And it's helpful to separate some of the types of fraud, abuse, and exploitation that take place by dollars, as you can see on the page that's displayed before you.
I think one of the things that slips by most of us is how global elder financial exploitation is. I want to preface the numbers with what you're going to see on this page with a thought. Do these numbers actually capture all of the elder fraud that exists in today's society? And then a second question. How much goes unreported because of shame or embarrassment?
So these numbers are based on a True Link study. True Link's a company that provides products and features that help with elder financial exploitation. They did a pretty comprehensive study, and by their best estimate found that $36.4 billion is lost to fraud annually. Fraud is often broken down into the following categories. Criminal fraud, caregiver abuse, and financial exploitation.
You can look up the different categories if you'd like to to see the definitions of them, but they are about what you see there. Criminal fraud, caregiver abuse, and financial exploitation. From 2013 to 2017, average loss by an older person was between $11,500 and $34,000. So between $11.5 thousand to $34,000.
One example that I have is an employee of the bank who shared a story from a time when he was working at home in his office that he shared with his 84-year-old father. His dad would take any call and set up appointments for in-home demonstrations like mattress sales. He'd need to rush to the bank other times to make deposits or send money via wire.
If the son wasn't actually keen to the things that his dad was doing, especially those changes in behaviors, he wouldn't have known what to look for, and he wouldn't have known to see that change in behavior, and he wouldn't have caught the exploitation. And he did catch that exploitation before it happened in many cases.
I personally get robocalls that are very realistic. Without realizing, I talked to the life-like robot for five to 10 seconds before realizing it wasn't a real person. This interaction made me feel [LAUGHS] pretty bad because of my job. I'm someone that works in the risk world, and they can use that information to record my voice, and they can use it to do other things as well. So all of you are not alone. Even risk professionals like me can be fooled. I'm going to turn the mic over to Kate to help us understand on a deeper level what scammers are after in 2021.
Thanks, Dave. I want to reiterate what you just touched on with your robocall story, because financial exploitation, which you also might sometimes hear called financial abuse, can happen to anybody. And this problem goes through all social, educational, and economic boundaries. Any one of us could lose money to a scam someday. That scammer just has to catch us at the right time with the right story. Maybe they catch us in a moment where we're not thinking quite straight due to stress or grief, or another factor that's happening in our personal lives.
And when financial exploitation happens to an older adult, sometimes it's called elder financial exploitation. And often, older adults are targeted because they have a steady income. They may have social security or other retirement income, and they may have savings or assets that they've built up throughout their life.
But the problem with financial exploitation is not limited to older adults. One recent study found that younger people actually experience a higher frequency of losing money to fraud and scams, and they do tend to lose a lower dollar amount on average than older adults. But this is a problem that's affecting everyone.
And often, older adults are living on fixed incomes, and that could make a financial loss particularly difficult for them. A small loss could have a big impact on us if we don't usually have much left over in our budgets at the end of the month.
Let's go through a few common examples of scams and financial exploitation that we see in our work at the CFPB. One is the theft of cash or valuables. Could be something like an unauthorized bank account withdrawal or unauthorized credit card use. It could be the inappropriate sale of financial services or products. Could also be the improper use of a power of attorney, a guardianship, or a conservatorship to exploit someone.
We see a ton of different types of scams, things like a free lunch seminar where they draw you in with high-pressure sales tactics and someone might be trying to sell a financial product that's not suitable for some of the attendees. We see a lot of lottery scams. Maybe you get a call saying, you won the lottery. But first, you have to pay some fees and taxes in order to collect your winnings. And of course, the money never comes.
One common type of scam that we see many different variations on is the imposter scam. One variation is where the scammer pretends to be a friend or family member in trouble. So you might get a call saying something like Grandpa, I was driving to a wedding and I was drinking. Then I got into an accident, and now I need to pay an attorney. I need to pay bail. By the way, don't tell Mom and Dad. Don't tell anyone else in the family what's going on.
Another variation of that is where the scammer impersonates a government agency. For example, they may call and say, this is the IRS. You owe taxes, and we're going to throw you in jail if you don't pay up. So the scammers use urgency and scary situations to try to keep you from thinking straight and taking the time to think through.
So this is what we encourage people to ask themselves if they get calls like this. Is this really your loved one, or is this really the government agency, or is it an imposter?
There are a couple things you could do if you're not sure whether something is a scam. Like Dave said, sometimes I get calls where I'm not totally sure right away whether it's to scam or if it's a legitimate call.
The best number one thing I think to do is don't panic. Take a deep breath. Think through the situation. And if something sounds fishy, just hang up. You don't owe scammers your politeness. You can hang up on them, and it's better for you that way.
And if the call is from someone who's pretending to be, for example, a loved one who's in trouble, you can hang up and then call your family member's phone number directly. That way, you can see if the story checks out.
And if they don't answer, maybe they're at work or something else, you could also call a different friend or relative to confirm the story. So if the caller said they're in a specific location-- I'm in a wedding in California-- you could call a close family member and see, do they know about that trip? Is that something that's really happening?
Another tip is if the person is asking for gift cards, that's a sign that it is very likely a scam. If someone's really in need, gift cards going to help. You can't pay a bill with a gift card. Scammers really love to use gift cards because they're easy to drain money from and they're hard to trace. I'm going to turn it back over to Mark.
Thank you, Kate. Yeah, 2020 provided some unique opportunities for scammers. Very unique. Kate, can you share some of the most common coronavirus scams to look out for, though?
Sure. So scammers are still taking advantage of the pandemic. They're still trying to con us into giving up all of our hard-earned money. And even though the pandemic itself, the situation is constantly changing, scammers are using pretty familiar tactics. They're often coming up with a new twist on an old scam. But it can be even harder than usual to recognize and to prevent scams right now because so many of us are not interacting with as many friends and neighbors and service providers as we normally do right now, because we're trying to social distance and slow the spread of the virus.
So let's talk about a few common ones that we see at CFPB. One are the fake contact tracing scams. So you might get a text message, a phone call, or an email where they say, you've been in contact with someone who has COVID-19, and then they ask for your personal information. And that is an attempt to steal your identity.
There are scams where they're offering COVID-19 vaccines or cures or air filters or testing. And the FTC has issued-- the Federal Trade Commission has issued a couple of warnings about some of these scams. For example, air filtration systems that they say are designed to remove COVID-19 from the air in your home, but which are a scam as well.
There are also fake coronavirus-related charity scams. There are a couple different versions of fake charity scams. One is where a thief poses as a representative of a real charity. Another is where they make up the name of a charity that sounds legitimate in order to get your money. These often get passed around on social media, particularly after a natural disaster or a tragedy like the pandemic, so it's important to be careful about any charity that's contacting you asking for donations.
Or if you get a call saying you made a donation pledge but you don't remember making it, that could be a scam as well. And if you are able and willing to help financially, it's best to visit the website of the organization of your choice directly to make sure that your money is going to the right place.
Checks from the government are another twist on the imposter scam. Scammers are posing as members of government agencies and saying that they need to gather your personal information. Again, warning bells should go off if someone is calling you, asking for your personal information. And they're saying they need it so that they can send you a stimulus check. Sometimes they even try to charge a fake fee with the promise of getting your stimulus check money early.
Another are the door-to-door errand helpers. So scammers may offer help with errands and then take off with the money. Some of us need help from time to time with picking up groceries or prescriptions or other necessary supplies, and so scammers will offer to go buy the supplies for you, but then never return with the goods or with your money. It's usually safest to find a trusted friend or a neighbor or to arrange a delivery with a well-known company.
And if you're ordering supplies online, just make sure you know who you're buying from. Use an established delivery service or order directly from the store. Many of the grocery stores and pharmacies are now offering contactless pickup or delivery. I know I use that all the time now for my groceries. It saves me some time each day.
And if you need some extra help for yourself or for a loved one, there's something called the Elder Care Locator, which is a public service from the U.S. Administration on Aging, and that can connect you with services for older adults in their families, all types of different support services. For example, help getting groceries and supplies. And you can find that Elder Care Locator at eldercare.acl.gov.
And as one final note, CFPB has a central coronavirus hub where we have collected tons of different resources for people who were affected by the pandemic. We also created a housing hub along with several other federal agencies, which has help for homeowners and renters during the pandemic. And if you have questions about pandemic-related resources, please check out those two websites. You can find all of our COVID resources on our website at consumerfinance.gov/coronavirus. So I've been talking for a while. Dave, why don't you share how people can protect themselves from fraud?
Yeah. Thanks a lot, Kate. And Mark, I know that you've had a chance to see this recognize, react, and report. And I'm really excited about this, because actually, it's stuck in my head, and it's something that I hope gets stuck in your heads, but I also hope it gets stuck in all the people that are listening's heads, which is recognize, react, and report.
The team that put this together was looking at the stages of financial exploitation. And whether you're a caregiver or someone who is just on the peripheral of someone's relationship like probably a lot of people that are on the call today, recognizing what's happening, reacting to it, and reporting it is important.
It's a really easy way to remember how to approach these types of situations. If it's too good to be true, it probably is. The pandemic introduced a change in our behavior and provided extra vulnerability to scammers, so it's a good opportunity for us to recognize whether our communication styles have changed with our loved one as well.
So someone you know, you might have talked to on the phone, but now you don't talk to them, you may actually talk to your loved one more on the phone now than you had in the past. Or maybe you haven't talked to that person in months. Those are all part of recognizing we can't go far enough. But obviously, you want them to react to those situations that are happening as well and report them.
I know there's a lot of different avenues to report, and every state has another resource at the government level that you can connect with. And Kate gave resources that you can seek out as well. But even just reaching out to someone that you trust and know and love for where to go can help as well.
The key element here is to make sure that you're taking that next step and getting over the hump. I'm going to pass it over to Mark now, and he's going to share more about what it means to be a financial caregiver. So go ahead, Mark.
Thank you, Dave. And as you know, caregiving has many forms and a variety of looks. Many of us help family members and friends every day that need our help. So we know we're helping, but we don't think of ourselves as caregivers, right?
I read statistics from the AARP, that family caregivers provide over 75% of caregiving support in the United States. So the reality is that at some point in our lives, most of us will be caregivers.
And as caregivers, it is important to familiarize ourselves with the many ways we can help protect older adults from financial fraud and scams. For example, stay connected with your older adult. By staying involved in their life, you can help protect them from risk associated with isolation, loneliness, including fraud and scams.
Talk about finances and health care wishes. Having these conversations can be difficult-- we know that-- but can help relieve anxiety and better prepare you for the future. Get a copy of their credit report once a year. Review their credit report together to make sure it's accurate. Stay alert to signs of fraud. For example, if someone who was always very frugal starts to make large withdrawals from the bank or need to wire money somewhere, or suddenly this careful senior is receiving collection calls or has insufficient funds fees from their bank, be wary.
Teach older adults about online and social media fraud. Don't hesitate to teach your older adult about the dangers of connecting with people online and through social media. A Bloomberg research showed that scammers manage to steal about $37 billion each year from American seniors using a variety of scams. Dave touched on that earlier.
These specifically target vulnerabilities of certain seniors. They may rely on well-known brand names or someone's unfamiliarity with technology and social media. So being better informed about social media will go a long way to eliminating this vulnerability.
I have a friend who cares for her mother. About a few years ago when my friend went on vacation with her fiance, when she came back, her mother was preparing to invest in an offshore company that dealt with virtual currency and was about to transfer $7,000. By talking to her daughter, which they trust each other and always make decisions together, that is how she was able to prevent her mother from sending money somewhere out there [LAUGHS] and probably losing a lot of money.
So if you have questions about this, you can always contact the FDIC directly. We have an 800 number. It's a toll-free number. It's 877-ASK-FDIC. That's 877-275-3342 if you would like to speak to a live person. So that's what I have on that. Kate will now help us better understand ways to safeguard our online presence. Kate, take it away.
Thanks, Mark. So let's talk a bit about how we can protect ourselves against identity theft. As you may know, protecting your sensitive personal information is a really good way to safeguard your credit and also to prevent future financial problems for yourself.
Unfortunately, hacking, scams, and data breaches have exposed the personal information of many of us. These events are difficult to predict, but there are some steps that you can take to protect your information both before and after your personal information is compromised.
So how do you figure out what options are best for you? Well, here are a few ways. First, reviewing your bank and credit card statements regularly will really help you because you'll be able to catch transactions that don't look right, and you'll also be able to alert your bank right away to get help if you see something that you don't recognize.
As Mark mentioned, reviewing your free credit reports every year will help you to find possible mistakes as well as signs of identity theft. You're entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three major credit bureaus. That's TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. So you can either choose to check all three at once, or you can pull one every few months to check in on a more regular basis.
And if you find incorrect information like a new debt or a new address on file that you don't recognize, you can file a dispute with [AUDIO OUT] a debt you don't recognize, you should also follow up with the company that it's listed under to let them know that you don't recognize the account and that it might be the result of identity theft so that they can open an investigation on their end as well.
Third, credit freezes and fraud alerts are great ways to protect yourself from identity theft or to help prevent further misuse of your information if it was already stolen. A credit freeze stops new creditors from accessing your credit file, and it stops other people from opening accounts in your name until you lift the freeze. So this makes it a lot harder for identity thieves to open new lines of credit in your name.
And you can lift it temporarily or permanently if you want to apply for new credit. I think this is a great tool to use. I actually have a credit freeze on my credit report, and I had to lift it recently to apply for a mortgage. And I was surprised. It was pretty simple to temporarily lift it in order to do my financial business. And now the freeze is in place again to protect me, because I think I lifted it for 30 days or something like that.
So if you want a place of security freeze, you need to contact each credit bureau individually-- again, that's Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion-- to place that freeze. You can either call or you can do that online.
And if you have experienced identity theft, a fraud alert is another layer of protection for your credit report. And that also makes it harder for someone to open a new line of credit in your name. If you have a fraud alert in place, the business has to first verify your identity before it can issue new credit. I highly recommend putting a fraud alert on your credit report if you have been a victim of identity theft.
A fraud alert lasts for one year, but you can renew it if you like. And for a fraud alert, you only have to contact one credit bureau. They will alert the others to place the fraud alert on your credit report. So that's kind of nice. It's a little easier.
So let's talk a bit now about online and mobile banking. Since the pandemic really impacted a lot of in-person options, some of us who have not typically used online and mobile banking services have now begun to use them in the past year. So how can we protect ourselves from scams over using this technology?
Well, here are a few tips. Be sure to create strong passwords, and do not use the same password for all accounts. I am guilty of this myself. But you should really use a different password for each account in order to have strong protection for yourself. Don't include personal information like addresses or birthdays in your passwords.
And setting up automatic alerts is one great way to monitor your account. So for example, you may be able to set up alerts that get sent to you when a direct deposit is received or a large payment is charged, your balance falls below a certain amount, your account is in overdraft, or more. And some financial institutions will let you set up an automatic alert when any transaction occurs. That way, you can know right away there is a fraudulent transaction on your account, and then you can report it right away to your bank.
These alerts can just help you stay informed without having to log into your account several times a day to check. I would say, ask your financial professionals to learn more about additional protections that they might offer, things like the ability to inactivate a debit card if you suspect fraud. There's a lot of new things out there, so it's great to ask and find out what's available.
Let's talk briefly as well about person-to-person or P2P payment services and mobile payment apps. These have become part of everyday life for millions of us during the pandemic. These payment services and apps let you send money to people without having to write a check or swipe a card or hand over cash. And they're becoming really popular for things like paying a friend back for lunch or splitting the cost of rent or collecting money for a gift.
So here are a few safety tips for using mobile payment apps. For one, scammers often use these services to trick people into sending money or to sending merchandise without holding up their end of the deal. For example, a scammer may sell you tickets to a sporting event. You send the money, but then they never actually send the tickets to you. Or they might purchase an item from you-- say you're selling your couch-- and they appear to send a payment, and then they cancel that payment before it reaches your bank account. So you've given up your property, but they haven't sent you the money.
The best way to protect your money with these is just using mobile payment services only with family, friends, or other people that you know and trust. Most of these apps also allow you to set up a passcode or a fingerprint that you can use to authenticate yourself before you make a payment.
So setting up that feature is great, because it helps to prevent someone else who gets access to your cell phone from making a mobile payment from your account because they wouldn't have your passcode, your [INAUDIBLE], or your fingerprint. And of course, in the event that your cell phone is lost or stolen, make sure to notify your bank or your payment provider right away so that they can be aware for any suspicious transactions.
And if you're sending money to someone for the first time, ask that they send you a request from the app if that service is available. If the payment app doesn't have a request for a payment, you could consider sending a small test payment to the recipient first, just to make sure it's the right person before you send larger amounts. That just helps you ensure that you're sending funds to the right person for the right amount. So I'm now going to pass the mic back to Dave who will explain another way that you can safeguard a loved one's account.
Yeah. Thanks, Kate. And Kate, you just explained quite a few ways that you can take action on and the features that most banks, including U.S. Bank, offer to our customers. But I'm going to speak to one specifically that's called Shared Access.
Some of the questions that people on the call today are probably asking themselves are, how can I as a caregiver or a loved one help support an older adult? Well, in the past, people had to actually add the caregiver to their checking account as a co-owner of that account in order to monitor expenses. And I think everyone can understand that there's some vulnerabilities that go along with that. Older Americans are not always wanting to or needing to give that level of access to folks.
And so U.S. Bank responded to this by creating a product called Shared Access. Shared Access allows you to give a trusted individual access to your accounts. It's designed to work in two ways. The first way is View Only. View Only access is great, because it allows a trusted individual to poke their head in, look around, make sure the transactions that are happening are appropriate.
But on the flip side, if the person is maybe in the mode of saying something like, I'm tired of paying my bills every month, there's a View and the Transact level of access for some eligible accounts where you may be able to give someone limited access to use some of the functionality like bill pay or other features to help that older American actually pay their bills on a monthly basis.
So when you think of the paths of how do you recognize and react, this is one of those paths. You can give that person the level of information or access to view, to transact that level of access that you're comfortable with as a caregiver, that the older American's comfortable with as the person giving that access. And if you might be able to find a way to help. So now Kate and Mark, I think I'm passing it back to you guys.
Yeah. Thanks, Dave. So before we talk about where and how to report scams, I just want to remind everyone that your best defense is to take your time to think and to say no or hang up. If anyone contacts you and asks for any of your personally identifiable information-- so that could be your Social Security number, bank account number, credit card information, your Medicare ID number, driver's license, or any other type of personal information. And that's true whether they call you on the phone or contact you by text message or email, or even in person.
And if someone you don't know sends you a check-- maybe they say it's for prize winnings or for the sale of something-- and they ask you to send a portion of the money back, that's a big red flag. Just generally, if something doesn't feel right to you, it's important to trust your gut and to say no. If it sounds too good to be true, if it just feels a little bit fishy, it's best to hang up and take some time to think.
So now for where and how to report, you can report scams to the Federal Trade Commission. That's ftc.gov/complaint, that first link there. You can report mail fraud and scams to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, that second link.
And a little further down the page is the CFPB's Office for Older Americans. We focus on educating consumers as well as professionals and intermediaries who work with consumers, and we work to help protect other consumers from financial harm, and to help people make good financial decisions.
We have a ton of free resources, some for free order, some for free download. But you can find them related to fraud, scams, and elder financial abuse. They're all on our website at consumerfinance. gov/olderamericans. And many of our resources are targeted towards people who are 62 and older, as well as financial caregivers and loved ones or professionals who interact with older adults. Mark, what other resources do we have to share?
I will mention a couple. And by the way, thank you for your helpful tips and resources. There are two additional resources I would like to add on. One is the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center. That's another place that tracks internet crimes. You can file a report on their website in addition to the Federal Trade Commission.
Another one is in our website at the FDIC. If it is a website claiming-- let's say you're going to the internet to, I don't know, to do transactions or you're looking to invest and someone's claiming to be a real bank or FDIC insured but you have your suspicions, you can find it in the FDIC's website, the name of the real banks. We have a bank directory called BankFind.
So if you don't see it there, please report it to the FDIC. We have a cybersecurity office that will shut down that site promptly. You can find other resources from the FDIC that have specific information about preventing fraud and how to deal with it if you're a victim. And that is fdic.gov/resources. Thank you.
And now we'll share additional tools that may help protect you from fraud in the future.
Yeah. So I think one thing to take from what Kate and Mark were talking about and some of the recognize, react, and report that I talked about is, holy cow. There's a lot of places. If you just reach out, you look online, you're going to find some things.
And at U.S. Bank, you'll find resources on fraud and all kinds of topics at usbank.com/financialiq. You can simply type in avoiding fraud in the search bar to find relevant information. But all three of those steps-- recognizing, reacting, and reporting-- are all over the place. You can see that the CFPB's taking it seriously. The FDIC's taking it seriously. Banks are taking it seriously. And that's where we want all of you to remember that.
As I mentioned earlier, today's presentation is compliments of U.S. Bank. You have an opportunity to earn a $1,000 cash prize, compliments of usbank.com. It's as easy as entering your name, email address, and the event code fraud. While you are there, send an e-compliment card to your family and friends so they have a chance to win the cash prize too. You can also share on social media using #ComplimentsofUSBank.
We have a few key takeaways for you today. Mine is just to remember that financial exploitation can happen to anyone. It crosses all social, educational, and economic boundaries. And any one of us could be caught up in a scam someday if we just are caught at the right moment with the right story. So we all need to take steps, whatever we can do, to protect ourselves.
And I think everyone knows what I'm going to say, the three R's. Recognize, react, and report. But it works for me. I was just sitting with my mom recently, and she was thinking about buying a new car. She actually went through with it. But I was involved in every step of the way, helping her look for the car to feel confident in what she was doing. And I feel confident that I didn't miss anything, anything that rang a bell from conversations and thoughts like we're having today.
But it's important for us to do these things in all these situations, to recognize it. If we find it, to react to it. And then the third thing is to report it, because that's one of the most important pieces of it.
And wherever you are in this process, you know you're not alone. We have provided many resources today that will help assist you in your financial journey. Remember, if you suspect you or a loved one has been a victim of financial exploitation, don't hesitate to report it. By doing so, we can work together to protect others and prevent future fraud attempts.
We received fantastic questions during the registration process that we'll address today. If you still have questions following today's session, please book your appointment with a banker at usbank.com/book. Our first question is from Kathy. She asks, how can you recover money that has been stolen from fraud?
Well, I'll take that one. To keep it simple, you contact your bank or financial institution immediately. File a report with your local law enforcement and Federal Trade Commission. If the customer knows where the money went, they can try contacting the receiving bank so the receiving bank can potentially get a jump on holding those funds or helping to recover them. But none of this is a guarantee to the consumer that they will get their money back, because once the money is out the door, it's hard to recover. But the quicker you react and respond, the better the chances are.
Thanks, Dave. Our next question is from Julie. She asks, what do you do if multiple fraudulent accounts have already been opened in your name? Mark, would you like to take this one?
I'd love to. So I would follow some steps that we may know, but like Dave was pointing out, reacting, right? The quicker, the better. I would follow this. First, get my credit report from the three major credit bureaus directly, meaning going to Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax. They each may have different information, so it's very important to get all three from the three credit bureaus.
By law, a credit reporting agency will investigate your complaint within 30 days. Each credit reporting agency will forward your information or your identity theft dispute to the financial companies reporting the fraudulent account. The financial company that received the notice from the credit reporting agency must investigate and report back to the credit reporting agency.
After an investigation is complete, a credit reporting agency must send you the results in writing. Their results must be sent to you, like I mentioned, in writing, including proof that they have been closed. Alternately, I would consider placing a credit freeze, as Kate mentioned earlier, or a credit lock on my report. Those are very important steps.
Also, while the investigation is going on, I would contact via phone and also in writing or through an email or some kind of form on their websites each of the companies that is reporting the fraudulent activity of me. A bank or a credit card. Contact them directly. Fill out a form. They usually have that information on their website. Call them. And that's another step I would do.
Lastly, I would report the identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission. This can be done by going to their website, filling out a form. You can also just call them at 877-438-4338. Also, the FTC suggests reporting it to the local authorities. That is definitely up to you, but it sometimes helps as well. Thank you.
Thank you for joining today's presentation. Please use your phone's camera to register for the next webinar, Go Beyond the Basics of Home Buying, on June 24. As a reminder, we'll post the recording from today's session at usbank.com/wellnesswebinars in the next week. Please provide us with your feedback in the post-event survey following the session. This concludes our webinar. Have a wonderful afternoon.
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