How to Avoid Scams

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Every day you may be subjected to new and inventive scams as people try to get information or money from you. People are pretending to be the social security administration and say you are under criminal investigation. You may receive phone calls that say your Apple ID has been compromised. Emails arrive in your inbox saying that your Netflix account has been suspended, and your credit card information is needed to reinstate it.

These scams are exhausting and sometimes not easy to identify. You constantly need to be on your guard. Here are a few good reminders on how to stay safe from scams.

  • Do not click links or attachments that come in emails you don’t recognize or did not solicit: More and more scammers are using email in attempts to steal your identity or even download malware to your computer. Avoid clicking links and downloading attachments – especially those you did not solicit. Additionally, carefully check email addresses as they can be faked to look like they come from a reliable or familiar source.
  • Do not send money or gift cards to people you have not met in-person: More and more scammers are asking for people to send money, prepaid debit cards, or gift cards. Do not ever do this. No reputable business will ask you to pay them in this manner.
  • Don’t believe everything you see: Scammers have learned to mimic websites, email addresses, and phone numbers in an attempt to trick you. “Spoofing” has become a common practice in the world of scamming – so double and triple check these things to make sure they are official.
  • Do not share personal information: Asking for your personal information is commonplace among scammers. Never share personal information such as a social security number, your birthday, credit card information, or banking information that could put you at risk.
  • Do not let anyone pressure you:Telephone scammers are quite prone to using high-pressure tactics to get your information. They may try to scare you or get you to act before you’ve had time to investigate or talk with someone. Don’t be pressured. 
  • Be careful when dealing with people you meet online: Social media, dating websites, and other sites are often used by scammers to find victims. Be cautious when engaging with people you’ve only met online. 
  • Look for “https” when making an online transaction: If you do online shopping or banking or conduct other business online that requires the sharing of sensitive information ( i.e., credit card numbers), be sure you see “https” in the web address. The “s” in “https” stands for secure, and you should see a small lock icon next to the website address. This layer of security is meant to help keep your personal information safe.
  • Be careful about your social media sharing: This warning has been around for a long time but still holds true. Be careful what you share on social media. You may be sharing information that scammers are looking for without even knowing it.
  • Do your research: Always do your research. If you receive a suspicious phone call, don’t hesitate to hang up and do a search to see if an organization would really call you and see what information they would actually ask you for. You can usually find out quickly if something is legitimate or not.
  • Get scam alerts: The Federal Trade Commission has a website where you can see current scam alerts. You can start here to see what scams are currently happening.

It is essential that you take precautions to protect yourself from scams. Use these tips to help keep you, your information, and your finances safe.

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