Thieves are using old tricks and technology to steal your hard-earned cash and your personal data. And, the charades they come up with swindle millions of people around the world on an annual basis.
What these folks are doing is using old tricks and new technology to lure people into a false sense of security, giving out their personal information or sending them money. Many of them will demand you wire them money or put pressure on to make an on-the-spot decision. If you see either one of these, run.
6 things you should know to avoid becoming a scammer’s victim
1 – Learn the person’s identity you’re talking to
Make sure that the person you’re talking to has both a physical address and phone number. Do not do business with a company or individual who’s got a P.O. Box only. It can be difficult to tell where a person is calling you from. However, a bit of research on the internet will help you learn about a company.
If you do find them, what kinds of reviews do they have? Is the offer they are giving you worth the risk you put forth? The only time you get a good deal is if the product you get actually works.
2 – Wired money is the same as giving out cash
Scammers will tell people to wire them money, generally overseas, because it’s difficult to trace wire transfers or reverse the financial deal. Never wire money to people you don’t know, to sellers/companies that want wire transfers for payment and anybody who claims they’re a relative or friend with an emergency need and needs it kept a secret.
3 – Check over your monthly statements
Thieves will get ahold of your account information, just to commit crimes or run charges up in your name. There are some merchants who will charge you for membership fees and/or fees or services you did not request. If you notice any charges you didn’t authorize or recognize, be sure you call your bank, creditor or card issuer right away.
4 – Give to reputable charities after disasters
If you plan on donating after a disaster, only give to charities you trust instead of a charity that occurred right after the fact. Charities that occur overnight tend to have no infrastructure that actually helps those folks who need the assistance. And, many times the money they collect is for illegal purposes.
5 – Research health treatments/products before you spend money
Be sure you do some research regarding the claims of products and learn what side effects there may be. Purchase your prescription medications from U.S. pharmacies only. If you don’t, you could have fake, mislabeled or expired medications – all of which can be harmful to your health.
6 – Investments are not a sure bet
If somebody gets in touch with you regarding high-return, low-risk investments or makes demands that you give them cash right now, steer clear and report them right away to the Federal Trade Commission.
Don’t become a victim: 4 things you should not do when it comes to your money
1 – Never give money to people you don’t know
If there’s an online seller you don’t know or an internet love interest has asked you for money, don’t send it. Rather, do business with people and websites you can trust. When you buy things through an auction website, use the payment option that gives you some protection.
Make sure you do research on a company when you want to do business with them, most especially if they offer a good deal. Type the name of the company or product into a search engine using terms such as “scam”, “complaint” or “review.” What do you see comes up in the result? Remember to go through more than just the first page of results.
Do not pay upfront fees for money that’s supposedly coming to you later, regardless of the reason.
2 – Never agree to wire money or deposit checks
It doesn’t matter how convincing a story is, do not agree to check deposits or wire money for people. According to law, banks have to provide funds from deposited checks within several days. However, when it comes to a fake check, this could take weeks. And, that means you could be on the hook for it and have to pay the bank back.
3 – Never give out personal or financial data to people
It doesn’t matter in what form of message someone asks for your personal or financial data, just don’t give it out. Never click on links or call phone numbers that are left in a message. This is known as phishing. They’re only trying to trick you into giving out the information. If you’ve gotten a message and are a little worried about your account, call the number listed on your credit/debit card to find out what’s going on.
4 – Never get involved with the foreign lottery
It’s against the law to play a foreign lottery; but so many messages about your chances of winning or that you’re already a winner make it so enticing to play. However, to collect your prize, you’ll be told that you need to pay “fees”, “customs duties” and “taxes.” If you have to send money, it means you didn’t win anything. And, money you do send is forever gone.
Internet scams need to be reported
If you believe you’ve been a victim of a scammer, there are three things you should do:
- Make a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. If outside the U.S., go to econsumer.gov to file the complaint. The complaints are then added to the Consumer Sentinel Network. This internet database is used by thousands of U.S. and foreign law enforcement agencies.
- Let your state attorney general know about the scam.
- Learn the steps to reduce your chances of becoming an identity theft victim.
And if you notice any scam-related materials in your “snail mail,” inform the local postmaster about the incident.