20 Jul Spot the Scam
You’re a savvy individual. You know better than to pass out your Social Security Number or wire funds to a stranger without good reason. Or do you? What if you get a call from your bank, and they ask to confirm your identity through your social security number? Or, what if a family member calls to say they’re in trouble and need immediate financial assistance? The fastest and easiest way to help is by purchasing a gift card, loading it, and giving them the pin on the back of the card. Seems simple enough, except those are both common scams. The best defense is a good offense. Here’s how to spot a scam and what to do if you become a victim of a scammer.
Know the Signs
The thing that keeps scammers in business is knowing how to be convincing. Remember, they wouldn’t still be in business if they weren’t good at it.
Don’t click links or call numbers in unsolicited emails or when financial information is involved. Delete the email immediately, no matter how reputable the business or sender seems. Business Email Compromise, or BEC scams, are common. For example, a homebuyer could receive an email from their title company with information on how to wire a down payment. That’s a scam! Scammers can hack reputable business email accounts or make small, hard-to-catch tweaks to mimic web URLs or email addresses. If a reputable business needs to contact you on an urgent matter, they’ll find another way to do so. If you’re not sure if it’s a scam, do a Google search for the company and contact them through the information provided on the website instead of through communication channels within the email.
Pop-ups are not your friend. As disappointing as it may be, you are not the 1,000,000th site visitor, and you didn’t win a prize. If a deal seems too good to be true, it is! Another common scam is a pop-up warning with an error message from your operating system or antivirus software. If the notification includes a number to call, it’s a scam. Tech support companies will never inform you of an issue by phone, email, or text and won’t include contact information in a pop-up. If you think there’s an issue, update your security software and run a scan, or take your device to a trusted tech.
Don’t give your personal information over the phone. Scammers can hack caller ID to make it look like they’re calling from a reputable number like your bank or a disaster relief organization. These types of scams will always make you feel pressured to act immediately and often include requests for your username or login credentials. Hang up, and dial the business or organization from the number on their website if you need to communicate with them.
Don’t Let Embarrassment Keep You From Getting Help
If you get scammed, the first thing to know is that you aren’t alone! Remember, these people make a living by being convincing and good at manipulation. It’s their full-time job to trick you into handing over your money. Many victims feel too ashamed to tell anyone they were scammed, but keeping quiet can leave your accounts vulnerable. We care about your financial well-being, and we can help. If you think you may have been scammed, let your financial institutions know, and pay close attention to identify suspicious activity. For more information or to report a scam, head here: https://www.fbi.gov/how-we-can-help-you/safety-resources/scams-and-safety/common-scams-and-crimes