Money Monday: Financial Scams Part 2

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With regards to financial fraud and scams more than a dozen states have introduced and or passed legislation this year regarding fraud or identity theft focusing on privacy protection, especially in the areas of biometrics, facial identification, and children. While new account fraud fell by 27% in 2022 according to a Javelin Strategy and Research report, at least 3.6 million Americans still fell victim to financial fraud. At some point during our financial life experiences, our financial information and security will be attacked. The question remains how can we best mitigate risk and exposure?

Proactive Step 1: Can You Hover Instead of Swipe

When I first became aware of this simple change I was surprised at its profound impact. Most credit or debit cards come with an embedded chip. If your credit or debit card does not have a chip embedded, would you consider replacing it immediately? Here is the problem. Criminals have greater difficulty intercepting transactions with an embedded chip than with just the magnetic strip on the card. Truth be told it is even more difficult if not near impossible for scammers and others to skim your information through a vendor machine if you execute your purchase through contactless payment.

In other words, just hovering your phone over the terminal and not inserting your card, reduces the risk of being subject to financial fraud. Because some vendors or places are not equipped to accept or accommodate chip cards, skimmers have more access to these transactions and therefore, your information is at greater risk of fraud there. Even though you may have a chip card, some chip cards also contain magnetic stripes which make them subject to risk. In 2022 skimming of credit card information increased five times more than in 2021 according to a FICO report. The takeaways here are to make sure your card has a chip, and remember to execute more purchases through the contactless process.

Proactive Step 2: Virtual Decoy

This final piece of information is perhaps the most important in this series. By some estimates, more than half of the United States consumer population prefers to shop online. This trend has created a prodigious opportunity for financial fraudsters, scammers, and identity thieves. The problem is that in shopping online you must provide the merchant with your credit card number. But here is a solution that can be a game changer!

Some bank credit cards offer what is known as a virtual card number. This number allows you to shop online without giving the merchant your actual credit card number. While the number links your credit card, the merchant processes the transaction using your virtual number as opposed to the actual number listed on your credit card. This option provides an additional layer of protection against fraud and scammers.

Imagine you purchased an item online from the Neiman Marcus website only to later discover that their system was hacked and there was a data breach. You won’t need to panic because all they have is your virtual card number and not your actual credit card number. Your exposure to fraud is minimal given that extra layer of protection.

While I believe the benefits of virtual credit card numbers outweigh the negatives, note that if you plan to pick up the item in the store after purchasing it online, using a virtual number would be a problem. When you arrive at the merchant to claim your online purchase, they may request to see your credit card. Since the virtual number is different from your actual credit card number used to purchase the item; you may be denied receipt. Now that you are cognizant of this information, I leave it up to you to make informed choices.

Watch Closely

Federal law limits your fraudulent credit transaction liability to $50, but it could be as little as zero, if, “your credit card number and not your credit card itself was stolen and reported within 60 days after the statement is sent to you”. The key here is that your card number must have been stolen and not the card itself. If your actual card is stolen and you fail to report it to the bank within 60 days, you will be liable for all fraudulent transactions. Therefore, check your credit card activities online regularly and report unrecognizable transactions immediately. Similarly, make a report to your credit card company/bank as soon as you realize your credit card was lost/stolen to limit your liability.

WHAT’S UP!

Today’s What’s Up is about vehicle tax credits part two. As promised, I am sharing with you the list of Electric Vehicles that qualify for tax credits. The lists of some of the vehicles qualifying for full tax credits ($7,500.00) are:

  • Cadillac Lyriq
  • Chevrolet Blazer
  • Chevrolet Bolt (Bolt EUV)
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid
  • Ford F-150 Lighting
  • Lincoln Aviator Grand Touring- in Hybrid
  • Tesla Model 3 Performance
  • Tesla Model Y ( AWD, Long Range AWD and Performance) and
  • Volkswagen ID.

The lists of vehicles qualifying for Partial Tax Credits ($3,750) are:

  • Ford E- Transit
  • Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid
  • Lincoln Corsair Grand Touring Plug-in Hybrid
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee Plug-in Hybrid 4xe
  • Jeep Wrangler Plug-in Hybrid 4xe
  • Tesla Model 3 ( Standard Range Rear Wheel Drive and Long Range AWD),
  • Rivian RIS and Rivian RIT.

Happy shopping and that’s what’s up!

Ruthven R. Phillip, Esq., is a tax attorney, Stewardship and Philanthropy Ministry Assistant, and CEO of Give2Getrich, LLC. Give2Get Rich, LLC 2023. All Rights Reserved. Any distribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.

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