Tips to Always Stay on Top of Scams
It seems like scams are more common than ever nowadays. People are losing more to scammers than ever, and it’s largely because the internet has allowed new scams to be created every day. In 2018, American consumers lost nearly $1.5 billion to scams, a massive increase of 38% compared to 2017.
So, how do you make sure you’re safe when scams are always growing and changing? Here are the five most important things to remember to keep yourself out of trouble, no matter what type of scam is targeting you.
1. Don’t Wire Money to Anyone You Don’t Know
Most of the time, a scammer will ask that you send money using a wire transfer. This is a classic part of most scams because it’s so useful and effective.
When used for legitimate purposes, wire transfers can be a great way to send money to people, because they’re nearly immediate and generally secure. However, they’re also essentially permanent and untraceable, making them a perfect tool for hackers.
So, if someone you don’t know asks you to wire money, be skeptical.
2. Don’t Pay Using Strange Methods Like Gift Cards
Another common form of payment scam is gift card payments. It may seem strange, but the general concept is similar to scammers asking you to wire money. You’ll be asked to buy gift cards in a specific amount, and then provide the card numbers and other security numbers.
There may be a variety of different explanations for this. Maybe the scammer insists that he or she doesn’t have a bank account, needs the money immediately, or is otherwise unable to use cash.
No matter what you’re paying for, try your best to use certified payment companies or other well-known methods. Never provide payment using gift cards.
3. Check and Double-Check Web Addresses
Phishing scams take a number of different forms. But a common one has to do with using web addresses that are almost identical to official companies and businesses that you trust.
A scammer impersonating Amazon may use the URL www.annazon.com; the two N’s look similar enough to an M that you might not notice if you’re clicking haphazardly. Before you actively click, just hover your cursor over it first. If the actual URL does not match the one shown in the embedded link in an email, on a web page or from a message online, do not click on it. Odds are it’s a scam.
4. Do an Internet Search Before You Accept Any Offers
You probably think you know how to determine whether something is a scam. But it’s not always that easy. If you get an offer in your email inbox, you may be too excited about it to make sure it’s legitimate before accepting it.
Unfortunately, if you decide to accept a sketchy offer too quickly, you may end up losing money to scammers and hackers. No matter what you’re planning to accept, from a small gift to sweepstakes win, do a quick internet search to verify its legitimacy before replying.
5. Use a People Search Engine to Check for Scammers
Scammers aren’t generally going to give their real names. More often, a scammer will make up a fake name or use a real person’s identity from halfway across the country. Anytime someone contacts you out of the blue, you should try to verify the person’s identity. There’s no better way to do that than by using PeopleFinders.
PeopleFinders contains many of the tools you may need to try and fend off scammers and hackers. Use the reverse phone lookup feature to try and make sure you know who’s calling your phone. Perform a people search to try and see if the name lines up with the story you’re getting.
Then, after it’s all said and done, use the PeopleFinders blog for more information that can help you be prepared the next time something doesn’t quite add up.
It’s hard to avoid scams; they’re so frequent in today’s day and age. And the money people are losing to scammers continues to climb. However, with the right tools and a little bit of common sense, you can make sure you stay safe from all the scams out there.
Image attribution: Aris Suwanmalee – stock.adobe.comTags: Identity Theft, Scammer
Categorized in: Scams