Online fraud has been around for as long as the internet as been. Even before the internet, scammers have been using the same tactics over and over again. The only difference is the internet has made it so much easier to scam people. Scammers are always around when you are throwing your mail out, when you are shopping online, and when you answer the phone assuming you won a prize.
When you get an email stating that you've won a prize or that you need to enter your information because you've been hacked, that is most likely a scam. Many people fall for this and enter personal info that can be used and stolen. It is hard to recover from identity theft. Banks will never ask you to put in your info such as passwords, email addresses, or Social Security numbers if you are hacked. They will usually text you to call or email you to call. Sometimes they have it where you can verify your transactions. Also, beware of scams that you won money. They usually send you a fake check so that you can deposit it into your account and then have you send them a big chunk of it through western union or MoneyGram. With Cash App, they are getting smart and even having people send them money through the app. Once they get the money through western union, MoneyGram, or cash app, you can not recover the funds. If it is not someone you know, it's best to stay clear of those types of scams.
You should always change your passwords periodically because scammers know how to get access to your passwords. Once they have access to your passwords, they are able to access your account and get personal info such as your bank account info, your address, etc. And with so many online places getting hacked, it's even more important that you change your password every so often. If your info is already on the dark web, then it's probably nothing you can do about that but try to safeguard your information. You can also sign up for two-step authentication that will help lock out scammers. Also, make your passwords hard to figure out.
Some things that you should be looking out for also is fake businesses, fake emails from government officials, etc. It's easy to do an online search for the business or government official. Usually reviews will pop up also. You can put scam in the front of the business name when searching to see if anything pops up. Never pay anyone up front for things like buying a house, a car, or send money before you get keys to a new place. Imposters will show you a house or car that is not theirs and say something like they are going overseas and will mail you the keys but please wire them the money. No one does business like that ever. Unless it's a transaction between you and family or a very close friend. Never do free trials from websites advertising products. They usually will give you the product but even after you cancel they keep on billing you over and over again. It's better to search for the product on Amazon or Walmart so that you can just place the order and get the product without being charged month after month.
Are you checking up on your elderly relatives? Elders are always victims of scams because they are not always the most tech-savvy. Scammers will call saying they won a vacation or something of the sort and tell them they need to send over money first as a deposit and then they will have the vacation of a lifetime. Older people can also end up getting locked into a timeshare when they attend a timeshare presentation. The only reason to attend a timeshare presentation is to get you a very cheap price at a hotel or for free gifts. Timeshares are technically not a scam, but once you buy into one, it's hard to get out of it. You have very high fees involved and most of the time you aren't able to enjoy staying in the place you bought.
Don't believe that your friends on Facebook have suddenly found a way for you to make some quick cash. Scammers will hack pages on Facebook and suddenly you are getting messages that FedEx has a new program that will pay you thousands a day from home just by emailing the names of your friends and their email addresses! That is a telltale sign of a scam. You can also verify by writing a post and tagging the friend to see if they were the one that messaged you. Never open up links you that receive that are strange. You can open them but never put your personal info into them. Sometimes opening a page might end up bad for you if all of a sudden your computer as a virus. If I open up a malicious page my computer will let me know and ask me if I want to proceed anyway. Sometimes it won't allow me to open up the link. You should get a virus and malware blocker installed on your computer.
If possible, never use public wifi. That is a sure way of getting your info stolen from scammers. Always use a password on our phone to make it harder for anyone to get into it if stolen. Of course, people are smart and have ways to get into a phone. If you feel as though your phone was stolen and you absolutely can not find it, contact the carrier right away so that they can turn the phone off. You might want to erase all info after backing it up remotely.
Do you purchase goods online? It's very easy nowadays for people to purchase a product using your credit card info and their name. It's best to check to make sure you don't have unauthorized purchases, that no one has opened an account in your name, and that the products you did purchase is going to the correct address. If for whatever reason your product doesn't arrive, you should first see if the merchant can fix it and if not, you should dispute the charges with your bank or credit card company.
There are a lot more ways of getting scammed and will be covered in another blog post. But for now, stay alert and aware of whats going on around you.