Scams and fraud can cost you time, money, and personal information. Learn how to protect yourself, what to watch out for and how to report a scam Acti
Scams and fraud can cost you time, money, and personal information. Learn how to protect yourself, what to watch out for and how to report a scam Action Fraud number.
Keep your bank, credit card and online shopping accounts private. Monitor your social media profiles and your credit report regularly.
Be wary of emails and text messages
Many scammers attempt to steal your money and personal information through tricking you into calling a phone number or clicking on a hyperlink. They may pretend to be the company you work for or your bank.
Billions of spam emails are sent every day. Many of them contain malicious links that, if clicked, can install malware onto your device. Scammers may send you messages that look like they are from a trusted source such as an email provider or website you’ve used before. These fake messages might ask you to verify account information or claim that there is an issue with one of your accounts online and give you a phone number you can call to update the information.
Some of these messages will also tell you to download software, such as ransomware, to fix a problem with your computer or device. If you receive such a message, do not call the provided number and never allow your device to connect WiFi or download any files. Instead, delete the email, mark it as junk, and report it to your email program as phishing. You can also disconnect the device from WiFi, turn off the device and let it cool a minute before you do this to stop any malware downloading.
Remember that honest companies will never contact you by phone, email or SMS to ask for your personal or financial details. This includes your Social Security number or bank account information. Be wary of any messages that ask you to transfer money or wire money. Scammers often do this to get money from people who are unknowingly acting as “money mules” and purchasing virtual currency or gift cards for scammers.
Don’t give out personal information over the phone
Never give out your personal information over the phone, such as your Social Security Number, bank account number or credit card number to someone you don’t trust. Scammers will often pretend to be a government or business organisation and use official-looking seals, logos, and signatures in order to appear legitimate. They may claim that your identity was compromised or that you are a prize-winner. If you’re unsure, hang-up and call them directly using the contact number they have published on their website or phone. This is important, especially if you’re asked to pay using prepaid debit card, cryptocurrency or wire transfers.
Scammers are also increasingly attempting to get your personal information through text messages and on social media. They may pretend to be friends or public figure you follow and offer you investment opportunities or services for free in exchange of a financial transaction. Report any suspicious messages to your social media platform. You can also check the person’s online activity by visiting their website.
Hackers may also reroute texts and calls by stealing personal information. Vice ran an experiment on a reporter in order to demonstrate how easily scammers can pass security checks when they contact your phone provider and claim to be you. They were able then to reroute any calls or messages and gain access the reporter’s Bumble, Postmates, and WhatsApp accounts.
To help protect your privacy, never disclose your full name, birthdate and address on social media, and only give out that information to those who initiate the communication with you. Make sure that your computer is running the latest anti-virus software and internet security. Update your passwords regularly and choose strong passwords – a combination of letters, numbers and symbols.
Click on links and attachments only if you are sure they are safe
Malicious attachments and links can install malware, which can lead to fraud or theft. Some viruses damage your device, whereas others steal sensitive information such as passwords and financial details. Phishing scams usually appear via email, but they can also appear on social media or in message apps.
Even seemingly legitimate emails can contain malicious links. It’s easiest to detect if the email comes from someone unknown, but you can also be suspicious of emails from friends or colleagues if they have poor grammar or an unusual salutation. Be wary of any attachments or links that are included in an email.
Most phishing attacks are designed to trick you into clicking on a link or downloading an attachment. Clicking these links can cause a range of problems. They could install malware on your device or spread a virus to your coworkers or customers.
Ask yourself these questions if you are ever unsure whether a link will be safe.
Do not give out your credit card numbers over the phone
Scammers can use the information you give over the phone to perform unauthorized payments on your card. This can lead to lengthy disputes and financial losses on your end. Fraud protection software can help you identify and prevent these types of fraud. It monitors your credit report, bank account, Social Security number (SSN), driver’s licence, and more in order to identify suspicious activities. They will alert you in near-real time so you can stop the scammer from causing more damage.
Some scammers call you using a technique known as spoofing. They can alter your Caller ID so that it looks like a family member or friend is calling and then trick you to wire money to them. Other scams involve crooks who target seniors and other vulnerable populations by posing as family members who need money wired to them right away.
The best way for you to protect your credit card information and other sensitive personal data is to not give it out to anyone who calls or texts you. Honest organizations will not contact you by phone or email to ask for personal information, such as your credit card number, until you are a current customer and initiated the communication. Downloading software to protect your devices from phishing sites, which are websites designed to steal your personal information, is also a good thing. Check that the company with which you work is PCI-compliant.
Do not give your Social Security Number over the phone
Social Security numbers can be a valuable tool for fraudsters. They can use them to steal identities, apply for loans, claim tax refunds and more. It’s important not to give your Social Security Number to anyone. Be suspicious if anyone asks you for your Social Security number via phone or email. If you have any doubts, contact the company directly to confirm that they require that information and to find out why.
One of the most common scams is to claim that your Social Security Number has been compromised, and you must provide it immediately to avoid fraud. This is used as an introduction to other scams like stealing your credit card number or bank account. In some cases, the scammers will even call you a fake government agency and threaten to take action if you don’t comply.
Another common trick is to claim that you are entitled to a government grant, or some other type of financial aid and need money immediately. This is a common scam, especially among seniors. Scammers will often pretend to be a government or other official-sounding agency in order to appear more credible.
Scammers also frequently prey on veterans, claiming that they are receiving new benefits or have a pending home loan application that needs to be approved. Once again, it can be very convincing. Some people have fallen for this scam. It can be devastating for the victims and their family.
Never give your Social Security Number to anyone over the phone. Also, don’t write it on a pad or anywhere else that is easy to find. If possible, memorize the number and keep your card in a secure place. It is a good idea also to shred all documents or mail containing your Social Security number and only share this information with trusted family members and friends.