Are You Being Scammed?

It is no secret that scammers are clever and ruthless and will do anything to obtain your personal information. Identifying and recognizing that your data has been hacked at least once can help prevent you from becoming a victim of a scam. By repeating personal information they obtained, crooks establish authenticity and authority with their targets.

It is often wrong to stereotype which people are the most vulnerable to scams and frauds. Scams can happen to anyone, and most scam victims are people who never expected to be victims of scams and frauds. 

Scams are more likely to occur in older people with decreased cognitive abilities. However, many other people are vulnerable, and even those who don’t fit the stereotype need to be alert to potential scams. 

You should avoid giving credence to scammers by understanding that a great deal of your personal information is available for sale. Nowadays, social engineering is a psychological technique used in most scams. People make bad decisions when emotions become so strong that the brain’s higher-level thinking parts shut down. People can make poor decisions when feeling fear, anger, and greed. Con artists excel at manipulating emotions through social engineering. Fear is at the heart of most of today’s top scams. Crooks called people last winter and threatened to cut off their utilities if they failed to pay an overdue bill. Many recent scams have told people they are about to be arrested for unpaid taxes or have had their Social Security numbers suspended. To make matters worst, scammers have kept up with current trends. Thousands of people are receiving bogus emails from companies like Apple, Verizon, and others. 

Learn how to avoid these four common scams to protect yourself or your business.

Charity Scams

Crimes such as this occur when criminals take advantage of disasters. Legitimate and fraudulent charities often use the same methods to solicit donations, making it difficult to spot such scams.

For you to avoid these scams, it is essential to do your research before donating to any charity. Make sure the charity is registered and has not received any complaints. Fraudulent organizations often use charity names that sound similar to legitimate ones. If you are unfamiliar with the charity, avoid high-pressure tactics asking you for immediate donations.

Cyber Scams

When a criminal takes advantage of a victim through the internet, this is known as a cyber scam. Typically, these criminals use realistic-looking business emails or documents to convince their victims to pay them. Criminals may also trick victims into providing confidential information or downloading malware.

Be sure to check the email address of any company seeking payment since criminals often use similar email addresses. Spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors may indicate a phishing email. Whenever you receive an email attachment or a link from an unknown source, do not click on it. By hovering your mouse over the URL, you can see where it leads to check if it’s a real link or email address. Be cautious of seemingly harmless social media quizzes asking what your favorite movies are or otherwise mimicking security questions. Scammers may use the answers provided to gain access to financial accounts.

Scams involving advance fees

Victims of this type of scam pay upfront for a product or service but get little or no return. Fees can be membership fees, administrative fees, or even taxes. In some cases, requests refer to “found money” or “inherited money.” Additionally, they may refer to work-at-home opportunities. A startup fee for initial inventory and training materials is required before victims are able to begin selling products like cleaning supplies or weight loss products.

Ensure that the business is legitimate, and check to see if there are any major complaints against it. Businesses that operate from post office boxes or require you to sign nondisclosure agreements that prevent you from independently verifying a business’s reputation are to be avoided, according to the FBI.

Scams involving government agents

An individual calls the victim, pretending to be a government agent. To comply with the law, the criminal demands money or personal information immediately.

Never give money or information to anyone claiming to represent a government agency because real government agencies won’t do that. After getting the caller’s name and department, hang up and call the government agency’s official listed number to ask for that person. Caller ID information because it can be faked, and should not be trusted.