April 01, 2024

Missouri DCI focuses on fraud prevention in recognition of Financial Literacy Month

Jefferson City, Mo – April is recognized as Financial Literacy Month, and the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance (DCI) reminds Missourians to manage their money wisely to protect their financial security, especially as the frequency of fraud continues to increase nationwide.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), consumers lost $10 billion in 2023 to scams, over one billion more than in 2022 and the highest ever in losses reported to the FTC. 

"It is never too early or too late to take control of your finances, use smart money management habits, and save for the future," said Chlora Lindley-Myers, Director of the Missouri Department of Commerce and Insurance. "It is equally important to protect yourself from fraud and shield any of your precious savings from scammers."

Fraud and scams can happen at any time and any place. Missourians should safeguard their personal information and not share any account numbers, including social security and Medicare numbers – even if the phone number or email address seems legitimate.

Always ensure websites are legitimate and secure. Beware of misspelled words or grammatical errors, and avoid clicking on pop-up messages online or unsolicited private messages.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's website includes information about the most common types of scams to better prepare consumers on what to look out for and how to prevent being taken advantage of. The American Bankers Association also has resources to help identify fraud red flags at banksneveraskthat.com/

"Losing money to scams and fraud can be devastating," Finance Commissioner Mick Campbell said. "Scammers are very sophisticated, and even the wariest consumer can be susceptible to fraud. To protect yourself, never provide account numbers or personal information via text message, email, or when receiving unexpected phone calls from someone purporting to be your bank."

For anyone who believes they have been a victim of fraud, DCI's Division of Finance and Division of Credit Unions recommend acting fast to secure all accounts and document the situation details to share with the bank or lender.

"Scams are constantly evolving," said Credit Unions Director Ken Bonnot. "Acting fast if you are a victim of fraud is crucial. It may be as easy as going to a lender's website or mobile app, or you may need to contact them by phone – but this initial contact is an important first step to prevent potential problems with creditors.”

DCI's Division of Credit Unions examines and oversees Missouri's 88 state-chartered credit unions with over $21 billion in assets. DCI's Division of Finance regulates Missouri's 196 state-chartered banks with over $196 billion in assets and over 2,477 consumer and mortgage lending licensees.

DCI is charged with protecting Missouri consumers through oversight of the insurance industry, banks, credit unions, utilities and various professional licensees operating in the state. For more information about the department, please visit our website at dci.mo.gov.