There are many different types of scams. What scammers have in common is they want something they are not entitled to, such as other people’s personal information and other people’s money.
If they are successful they can drain your bank account, use your credit, and cause a wide range of problems by committing identity theft. When you are familiar with scams, you can protect yourself.
Email Scams And Phishing
Phishing occurs when someone pretends to be someone he is not. He attempts to trick you into believing he is someone else, so he can obtain sensitive information. He plans to use this information for malicious or illegal purposes.
One common example is posing as someone from the government. Some of the most recent scams include posing as a representative from the FBI, an individual in the military, or a court clerk.
The phishing emails include telling the email recipients they can receive a large sum of money, or that there is a court case involving the recipient.
Most of these emails include attachments. Others include links. Never open or download an attachment, and never click on a link in a suspicious email. Scammers can obtain your passwords and send viruses into your computer.
A second common example is Nigerian advance fee fraud. You are asked to pay a fee to receive a large sum of money. The scammer wants access to your bank account.
A third example covers companies and businesses you may deal with on a regular basis. The email may claim to be from Paypal, your bank, or a legitimate company such as Walmart.
These phishing scams, known as spoofs, are not from those companies at all. You should be suspicious if an email does not address you by name, or asks you to log into your account through the email.
A fourth scam that has been common in recent years is the email claiming to be from one of your friends. The “from” section actually has your friend’s name in it. However, when you open the email you find there is no message, only links. You may see the email was sent to many different people in addition to yourself. You should not click the links, and you should not reply to the email.
When you receive a suspicious email, do not reply, click links, or download attachments. Any of these activities can help a scammer access your personal information and may harm your computer.
There are online scams that are popular, too. One example is a work-from-home scam. A website may state you can make a huge amount of money every month with very little work. When you read the entire website or watch the video, you will see a product you are expected to buy.
Another online scam is debt relief. You may be told your credit can be repaired or restored. You know it is a scam if they say they can actually change your credit history.
There are also online scams offering free products. All you must pay is a small shipping fee. If you provide your credit card information or your bank account information, expect to be subscribed to ongoing services that you do not want.
If you do not want expensive weight loss supplements, cosmetics, or similar products to be charged to your credit card or deducted from your bank account every month, avoid signing up for free products or trial offers. It can be quite difficult to cancel these subscriptions that include automatic monthly payments.
Scams And Your Phone
Scammers can find you through your phone, too. You may receive a call stating you have won a prize, a gift, or money. Whether they say you have won a new car, a vacation, or cash, you will be asked for your credit card information or your bank account number. Never provide this information over the phone.
You may be on the receiving end of a phone scam designed to create fear, and to obtain money from you. You may be told there is an arrest warrant against you, or that your child or grandchild is in danger. The scammer will ask for money to pay your fine or to help the youngster. These scammers often claim to be from law enforcement agencies.
Phone calls offering phony services often target senior citizens. An unknown person may say he will repair your house, or has information about your financial situation. The wisest approach is to hang up on the callers.
While these phone scams can occur on cell phones or landlines, there are additional scams that target cell phone owners. You may receive a text message with a link, or you may receive a download. If you click a link or open the download, the scammer can access sensitive information. In some cases, these actions can help scammers install tracking devices in your phone.
Protecting Yourself From Scams
The correct response can prevent many unnecessary problems. If you are not 100% certain an email is legitimate, delete it immediately. Do not provide any information over the phone unless you know the person or the company. Never sign up for online services without obtaining all the facts. If you order products online, make sure it is from a company you know and trust.
Phishing, hacking, and identity theft are common occurrences. You can avoid scammers and scams, and you can be safe.