Technology offers many benefits for connecting with people all over the world. Unfortunately, it also offers more opportunity for criminals to scam unsuspecting victims. Scams can take many forms; some are blatant while others are more subtle, and you can protect yourself by learning to recognize popular scams (link). Regardless of the method, here are some ways to protect yourself from almost any scam.
- Know who you’re dealing with
Scammers will often impersonate someone with authority, such as speaking on behalf of bank or a government agency. Always check the email addresses, and if you’re unsure, call a reliable number for that agency such as one found on a bank statement.
- Be wary of anyone demanding money
If you get an email demanding money for any reason, such as a debt you were unaware of, and especially if the email is making threats such as legal action for not paying, it is probably a scam. If you’re unsure, do some research on the sender – a quick online search may turn up someone else may who was contacted by the same person.
- Don’t share your personal information
You should never give out any personal information to unsolicited sources. This includes financial information, social security numbers, passwords, and access to email and social media accounts.
- Delete suspicious email
Never respond to, or click on, links in suspicious emails. If anything seems strange about an email from a source you usually work with, such as a bank or close friend, contact them from a reliable number on the company’s website, instead of using a number from the email.
- Take time to check your paperwork
Once a month, set aside a day to review important paperwork in detail. Check bank and credit card statements, any bills or monthly payments, as well as any debt statements such as car and house loans or medical bills. If you find any irregularities in these, contact the sender immediately.