Unfortunately, scams are all over the place. They look so real, and a lot of people get taken in by them. And knowing how to be aware of scams, puts you ahead of their game.
Being aware that if it looks too good to be true, it usually means just that! I am a firm believer when it comes to listening to my gut. If your stomach isn’t feeling right-then, don’t go with it. Scams come from all walks of life. In-person, by mail, over the phone, in email, or any social media site. If they approach you, uninvited, it may be a scam.
Make Google, Bing, or Yahoo your buddy when it comes to suspected activity, especially when you encounter people on or offline. I’m big on research; it’s saved my neck a few times. Lots of times when you do research, you’ll find others who’s fallen prey to this very exact scam. If you get Facebook messages or even emails that claim they’re from a friend but isn’t written like your friend would write to you, STOP, and contact that person directly. Make sure that it was them that sent it.
Do not ever open any emails that appear suspicious to you. If I get an email that I didn’t contact previously, I very rarely reply. I am in business for myself, so if I’m not familiar with your email address, I won’t even bother reading it. If I get duplicate emails from them over time, I’ll open it up, read it, and if the email doesn’t relate to me or my business, I unsubscribe from them. I have one repetitive email, where unsubscribing did not work, so it goes directly to my spam folder.
How to Avoid
Keep every aspect of your personal information, personal. DO NOT ever give out your personal information. A few years back, our middle daughter was in her freshman year at college and received a call, supposedly from IRS, claiming she owed taxes. She was in hysterics. The said they would take half the amount she owed, and they would cancel the arrest warrant that was issued on her. But get this, they wanted her to go to Target and get gift cards in the amounts of $40.00 each.
I get so many phone calls; it is unreal. And nine times out of ten, there is usually a computer expressing how important this call is, and that’s when I’ll hang up. If it were that important, then a human being would be calling me. That’s how I look at it. If you’re getting unwanted phone calls, and it can be an issue with your cell phone, perhaps consider registering for the Do Not Call list. I need to update mine.
Get in the habit of shredding all of your mail, unless it is something you need to add to your records. If you do not have access to a shredder, tear the letter up into as tiny pieces as possible and then throw them away in different trash cans throughout the house. So It is essential to protect your passwords, any credit card numbers.
It is a big issue, social media. So many posts just anything. And most know once it’s out on the internet, well, it’s out there for good!! Keep your circle of people you trust, small. Go through your privacy settings often. Especially with Facebook. I don’t know how, or even why, but my settings have changed where everything is public. I do that with my business site, but never with my website!
Keep in mind that whatever it is your posting on any social media, ask yourself if it is something you don’t mind the whole world knowing. The same thing goes with personal information, even places like where you live, where you work, even where you go to school. You would be surprised how people can use this information against you. Be careful when you share places that you are at. Or when you’re out and about with family and friends. Just because nothing has happened so far, it doesn’t hurt to be cautious.
Do Not ever give money to anyone you have not met face to face, and then still be cautious. Do not let anyone pressure or bully you into doing anything you don’t want. Well, public money gram services aren’t a safe way to send money, for if something fraudulent has happened; getting your money back from them is almost impossible.
I could go on and on with this list; the above is just the tip of the iceberg. Knowing that scams are real and that they are out, there is a significant first step. Scams are over the phone, texts, emails, social networks, even in person. If they appear suspicious, don’t open them. That also includes popup windows and links.
Knowing who possibly to avoid is helpful too. Learn the signs; you’ll become more aware of them when you pay a little more attention. Be mindful of who it is your dealing with. Let me mention again, if you get that funny feeling in your gut, listen to it!
Bookmark These Sites
Whenever in doubt, go straight to the Better Business Bureau, I have it bookmarked. You can even do a scam search by state. There are a few other sites I’ll list below:
- AARP Money, Scams & Frauds
- Federal Trade Commission: Consumer Information
- Scam Detector
- Top Online Scams You Need to Avoid Today [Updated 2019]
My intent on writing this article is not to scare you. I only want to arm you with the knowledge against scams and scammers. It is said that we live in a world where this kind of deceit goes on, but it is what it is. And the more aware we are, the more likely we won’t fall prey to these people. Yes, they are people, and they can be compelling, even friendly. When in doubt, break off all communication. Do the research and teach yourself how to be safer.
Share your knowledge with friends and family. The more that know, the better!
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