Online scams are becoming a popular way for swindlers to take advantage of unsuspecting victims, taking everything from cash to identities. Here are some tips for recognizing and protecting yourself from online scams:
Know How to Recognize an Online Scam
There are a number of clues that an online offer or opportunity may very well be a scam. Some tips for spotting a scam according to US News include:
- There is money involved or/and an upfront payment is required;
- Unrealistic promises that sound too good to be true are involved (i.e. “You can make thousands of dollars from home!”);
- Fear tactics or pressure – “Act now or lose out!” – are involved;
- There is no clear benefit to the person making the offer; and
- How the process works and how you will benefit doesn’t really make sense.
Tips for Protecting Yourself from Online Scams
In addition to knowing how to recognize an online scam, there are a number of other ways to ensure that you don’t become a victim of identify theft or credit fraud. These credit fraud schemes typically flare up around tax season, however they are always present so it it important to remain vigilant. Always keep these tips in mind when doing anything on the internet:
- Don’t open texts, pop-up windows, or emails from people you don’t know or that look suspicious;
- Protect your wi-fi network with a password, and use different and complex passwords for your email login, online bank accounts, etc.;
- Don’t ever make an online payment on a non-secure site; and
- Be choosy about who you give information to – your Social Security number, credit card number home address, and date of birth should rarely be shared online.
Remember: Anyone can be a victim of online scams. Follow the tips above to avoid becoming a victim!