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Scams and How Best to Avoid Them
Unfortunately scams and scammers are everywhere these days! Scams via email, text, social media, instant message, and by phone can be very convincing and do mimic known, trusted email addresses, web sites, and phone numbers to trick you into giving them what they want and with great success, stealing millions of dollars every year. They want your money, your social security number, bank account, and/or credit card information, anything they can sell or use for profit. Scammers constantly come up with new ways to defraud; what can you do to keep your data safe and your money in your pocket?
Here are some recommendations to help you protect yourself:
1. Do not click on any links or respond to an unsolicited email.
a. i.e., Even though it looks just like your bank website, NO bank emails you to update your account info via email; this is a scam to get your password and clean out your account.
2. NEVER give personal information (birthdates, maiden names), social security numbers, account numbers, or money to anyone that you have not verified from another source.
a. Independently verifying the claim means looking on your bank or account statement, or the back of your credit card and using the web site or phone number listed on it to find out if you are being told the truth. For example, if you are told there is a warrant out for your arrest, call the police department, or if you receive a letter from the IRS saying you owe, call your accountant, Michelle.
b. Do a search online using key words from the call or email followed by scam to see what comes up. Snopes.com is our favorite fact-checking site. You can also just type into the Google search box. For example search, “Is the social Security Administration calling about problems with my social security numbers a scam?” It may have already been reported to the Federal Trade Commission and you will immediately know it is a scam. You can also go straight to the FTC web site.
3. Do not believe your caller ID. They have ways to mimic legitimate phone numbers on caller ID. It is not the IRS, Social Security Administration, Microsoft, or Google calling you. They do not call you unsolicited.
a. Better yet, do not answer any calls; let your answering machine or voicemail pick it up. You can always pick the phone up to take the call or call back.
b. If you don’t answer some solicitation calls your number is marked inactive and they move on & stop calling you.
4. Hang up on Robocalls or phone solicitors- no really- we give you permission! You are not being rude, they are trying to steal from you!
Unfortunately, the best way to protect yourself from fraud is to assume all unsolicited emails, phone calls, visitors, and mail are out to scam you. Do not engage with them, unless you are able to independently verify their legitimacy.
For more information visit the Federal Trade Commission’s web site at www.consumer.ftc.org
The AARP web site is also a good place to go for tips to avoid scams at www.aarp.org/money/scams
Last Updated by Admin on 2019-05-15 09:32:16 PM