Getting scammed is an unpleasant experience, but you can be one step ahead.
Ever click on a link or open an attachment in an email, even though you’re not quite sure who it’s from?
Cyber criminals have skillfully figured out how to create emails that look like they’re coming from legitimate sources, including banks, government agencies, and other services and businesses. Get savvy in recognizing these frauds since often they not only collect your personal and financial information, but also infect your device with malware and viruses.
You know you’re a good person when your first instinct is to help when you receive an email or call from a government official, family member, or friend asking you to wire money.
You know you’re a smart person when you don’t immediately fall for it and verify whether the situation is real or not. Criminals have become experts at impersonating those closest to you by exploiting your personal information available online.
“You’ve won” scams
Winning isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.
If you receive an email stating you’ve won a prize, the lottery, or a sweepstakes, be instantly on your guard if you are asked to pay a fee or tax for the prize, or if there’s a request for your credit card or bank account information. Here, you can win by not falling for this scam.
Keep your stress levels low and be wary of calls, emails, or letters that promise big savings in your health insurance.
Cyber criminals will usually request your Medicare or health insurance information, social security number, or financial information. Not falling for these scams will give you a skeptical—but healthy—outlook on cyberspace.
Tech support scams
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
If someone claiming to be with a technology company contacts you and wants to diagnose a computer problem you didn’t know you had, or provide tech support you have not requested, stop! If you receive an unexpected pop-up or spam email about an urgent problem with your computer, stop! Scammers are likely using a nonexistent problem to obtain remote access to your computer or banking information.
Victims of identity theft often feel violated—rightly so, since this crime involves someone using your personal information to obtain money or credit. Signs that you may be a victim of identity theft:
- bills for products or services you never purchased;
- unauthorized withdrawals from your bank;
- unauthorized charges on your credit card statements;
- unauthorized charges on your credit card or new accounts in your name—which you never opened;
- noticing a decrease in the amount of mail or bills you receive; or
- a decrease in the amount of mail or bills you receive, or being rejected, or denied, for a credit application.
Don’t ignore any of these suspicious signals; report them immediately. The longer you wait, the more time-consuming, costly, and exhausting it can be to rectify the situation.