Are you worried that you might get targeted by scammers over the internet or on the phone? It’s a reasonable thing to be worried about. Scams are surging these days as criminals push to find ways to make money without putting in the work.
So, how do criminals target people with these scams? And what can you do to avoid them? Today, we’ll give you the inside scoop so you can avoid phone and internet scams and keep your hard-earned money. Don’t let anyone trick you into giving up what’s yours!
For the most part, scammers just randomly search on the internet for social media users or phone numbers to try running their schemes on. It’s not exactly scientific: they find databases with user information and go fishing. Or, in some cases, they go “phishing”: looking for other people’s login information.
That’s not to say you can’t take steps to avoid the attention of criminals. Keep your social media accounts private, and don’t share personal details like your first pet’s name, your mother’s maiden name, and other facts that could be used in your security questions for secure logins.
Most scammers try to trick you into sending them money by scaring you or confusing you. If they reach out directly to you, they’ll usually pose as people in positions of authority. They’ll claim that you’re wanted to appear before a court, or that a family member of yours is in police custody. They use these scare tactics to get you to stop questioning their assertions that you owe them money.
Then, they’ll demand you pay right away, over the phone, using gift cards. If you press them on the reason for the gift cards, they might say something about their inability to accept credit card payment over the phone, or the urgency with which they need to process the payment.
When someone starts demanding payment over the phone, it’s time to hang up on them. No legitimate business or institution needs you to pay them by sending prepaid gift card numbers over the phone. This is a transparent scam that you can ignore.
Make sure you do the same thing with any fishy emails that claim you owe money to some institution. Unless a company can contact you through official channels, there’s no reason to pay these kinds of scam attempts any mind.