Scammers are incredibly innovative and seek to take advantage of people by any means possible. This means that they utilize such a wide variety of different schemes and mechanisms that you must always be on the alert. Scammers can attempt to make contact with you through email, text message, by phone, mail, or another source of contact. In addition to the safety and prevention tips below, it may be helpful to review the list of common scams compiled by the FBI.Know the Signs of a Scam
- Scammers often pretend to be from an organization that you know like a governmental agency (Social Security Administration or IRS), well known business (utility or tech company), or even a charity. Knowing this is an important step in understanding that when you see one of these organizations come up on caller ID or someone identifies themselves to you as from that organization, that does not automatically mean they can be trusted.
- As part of the scam, there will always be some sort of problem or prize that requires verifying your information to move forward.
- The scammer will request immediate action in the face of repercussions for you. This might mean that if you do not take action immediately, you will lose your chance to claim the prize they say you have won, or that without immediate action, grave harm such as a loss of benefits, balloon payment, or even jail time will follow.
- Specific methods of payment are requested that may seem unconventional. Some of these methods include paying with cryptocurrency, using Western Union or MoneyGram, and even sending you a fake check to deposit and asking you to send money back. All of these requests should raise red flags and prompt more investigation.
Preventing the Scam
- Know the signs of a scam and act cautiously when you recognize any of them.
- Refrain from giving your personal information in situations where you did not expect to have to do so.
- If you do receive contact from someone claiming to be from a government organization, call their verified phone number and confirm before providing any of your information to the unverified source.
- Do not click on any unverified links, especially from people or sources that you do not know.
- Do not rush into action, take your time investigating what you have been told and what you have been asked to do.