Online scams are a growing problem. So many people are duped into giving up their personal information to fraudsters, only to find out later that the person they were talking to was not who they said they were. Scams can be difficult for law enforcement agencies because it is nearly impossible to track down the criminals if all their correspondence is done online. This blog post will discuss key tips you should know about internet scams, and how to avoid them.
Signs that it is a Scam
1. They Pretend to be from Organization you Know
Fraudulent agents will try to use their knowledge of you and your organization to take advantage of you. They will either claim that they work for a company or government agency you might know, or have done business with in the past, such as a utility company, credit card issuer, law enforcement agency, etc. They may even try to call themselves a “special agent” or a “government official” to make you believe they are legitimate.
2. They Urge You to Act Right Away
These scammers want to rush you into making a decision right away because they want you to feel as if there is an emergency, and they need your help immediately. When acting for a bank, utility company, or credit card company, legitimate representatives will never ask you to make a payment by wire transfer or prepaid debit card.
How to Avoid Them
1. Set Strong Passwords
These scammers are experts at deception. They want you to tell them your passwords because that will give them access to your personal information, including your bank account numbers, credit card, and Social Security numbers. Many people use common words which criminals can easily guess with a few tries. Be sure to create strong passwords that contain letters and numbers and even punctuation symbols.
2. Never Share Personal Information Over the Phone
These scammers may pretend to be from your bank or credit card issuer and ask for your security information to verify an unauthorized transaction. Sometimes they might even use social engineering tactics by telling you that there has been suspicious activity detected on your account, so they need you to verify some information to help them protect your account.
It is important that you do not speak over the phone with anyone claiming they are from a financial institution unless YOU initiate the call. If you receive a call from someone asking for your account information, always ask for their name, number, and position within the company before relaying any information. You can confirm that it is, in fact, your bank or credit card company by calling the number listed on their website or billing statement. If you give out your personal information to a stranger unknowingly, contact lawyers for online scams immediately.
3. Never Wire Money
One of the biggest red flags when dealing with internet scams is when someone asks you to wire money. Fraudulent agents often request that victims send payment through a wire transfer or prepaid debit card because it is an anonymous way for them to get your money without detection. Legitimate companies will not ask you to send payment in this way.
You can never be too careful when it comes to internet scams. Remember, there is no way for you to verify the identity of a person with whom you are dealing online or by phone. It is always safest to assume that the person on the other end of the conversation is a fraudster. Do not share any information about yourself until you’ve confirmed that you’re actually speaking with a legitimate company or agent. Contact lawyers for online scams if you have been scammed online.