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Fearless Financial Future

Financial Wellness Checkup – Tackling Financial Exploitation

Financial Wellness Checkup Campaign text next to a black cartoon laptop computer with a padlock on the screen.

Anyone can become a victim of fraud. Losing money or property through scams and frauds can have a lasting and devastating effect on your financial well-being (CFPB).  This week’s theme is financial exploitation, and throughout the week, we will be exploring multiple topics that focus on protecting personally identifiable information.   

Protect your financial information online from identity thieves

Do you shop, pay bills, buy tickets, or transfer money online? Effective online security prevents cybercriminals from accessing your personal information. In addition to creating strong passwords, avoid accessing personal information on public Wi-Fi, use a secured website, and always question requests for payments. This article from America Saves provides some everyday tips on how to protect yourself against fraud.

Be aware of scams during times of crisis

Incidents of fraud may arise during a crisis. To protect yourself, rely on trusted sources of information for updates during an emergency. Question all requests and products that emerge during the crisis. Learn more about five things to avoid scams from the FTC.

Review peer-to-peer mobile payment apps before use

Peer-to-peer mobile payments apps allow individuals to send money to friends, family, and others for covering food, rent, and other joint activities. Read the reviews before downloading or using peer mobile payment applications. To hear more about using P2P apps, listen to the Family and Financial Feuds podcast, Paper, Plastic, and P2P. and

Prevent Grandparent scams

Anyone can become a victim of financial exploitation and fraud, regardless of age. However, losing money due to exploitation or other fraudulent financial activities may be particularly devastating for older adults who may not have a way to rebuild their financial assets. Attached are two resources to learn more. Family Financial Feuds podcast and Federal Trade Commission

Learn how to file a complaint

As a consumer, you have rights to fair financial products or services. If you experience problems in the marketplace, agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps regulate and enforce laws that empower consumers. Learn how to file a complaint.

Report Incidents of Identity Theft

Identity theft occurs when someone steals your personally identifiable information (e.g., SSN, credit card number, bank account) for profit/personal gain. Learn how to file a report at

Consider a Fraud Alert 

Consider a Fraud Alert if someone misuses your information or if you are worried about identity theft because of lost or stolen personal information (e.g., Social Security card, wallet). When you set up the alert, businesses must verify your identity before issuing credit.


We hope you’re enjoying our Financial Wellness Checkup social media campaign. This week’s theme is financial exploitation and will feature the resources discussed above. To follow along as our campaign continues, choose your favorite social media mode:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Camaya Wallace Bechard is a Consumer Economics Educator with University of Illinois Extension, serving Livingston, McLean, and Woodford Counties. Camaya Wallace Bechard provides leadership in financial management to individuals, families, and communities and delivers educational programs that focus on building skills and knowledge about money management and financial decision-making.