7 Tips to Avoid Scams Online
February 16th, 2023
Scammers are getting smarter and more technologically advanced, with the ability to access your personal information as a means to gain your trust. Don’t fall victim to the latest scams. Be cautious of what might seem too good to be true, and of messaging from a “friend” that doesn’t seem quite right.
If someone reaches out to you asking for financial help, demanding a payment, or claiming you won a prize, stop and think. Do you really know this person asking for money? Did you really enter a contest or sweepstake that would win you thousands of dollars? Speak to your friend on the phone to confirm the story before trusting a mysterious text or email, even if they provide personal information, like a friend or family member’s name.
If you receive an email or text claiming to be from your bank asking you to log in to view an important message, don’t click the link. Instead, open your bank’s website from a new tab in your browser. If your inbox is empty, chances are that message was a scam.
Look closely at the email address that sends a suspicious message. Watch out for someone replacing an i with an L, or an O with a zero. If it looks fishy, don’t respond, click links, or download any files.
Be extra wary of emails that include attachments. The file could sound appealing, but hidden malware can be placed on your computer without your knowledge.
Even the most seasoned writer can make a mistake, but if an email from a legitimate company has multiple spelling, grammar and punctuation errors, it’s likely a fake. Be cautious of messages that don’t seem professional.
Go paperless! Not only will this help save the environment, but it will prevent thieves from being able to go through your mailbox, the trash or recycling bin to find your private information.
If you consider yourself tech-savvy, check in with your parents, grandparents and technology-challenged neighbors and friends. Elder Fraud is increasing as criminals target seniors with scams, such as pretending to fix non-existing technology issues.
The best way to stay safe is to stay aware! Trust your gut, and use an extra dose of logic to stay safe. If you think you’ve been affected by a cyber crime, file a complaint and report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) here. You could help prevent someone else from suffering from the same criminal.