It seems to me that the amount of online scams are increasing even as the eduction about them seems to be reaching and helping the thousands who are contacted by a scammer each year.
The one constant with online scammers is that they will always keep trying. From money orders, to phone calls, to PayPal, to pop-up ads on third-party websites, those who want money for nothing will continually come up with creative attempts at getting it.
Many organizations, such as the Attorney Generals’ office, North Dakota Banker’s Association, and Consolidated Telcom continually educate consumers about the newest online frauds. However, it would be nearly impossible to inform every person about every type of fraud that exists online. What it comes down to is watch for the over all trends and techniques used by scammers as your first line of defense.
SCAMS & FRAUD ALERTS
Though it is impossible to list everything, here are some things that should put you on alert for an online scam.
- Never give out your account numbers or routing numbers unless you have complete confidence in who you are dealing with and never be afraid to check with your banker or be talked out of checking with your bank.
- High pressure, MUST DO IT NOW, computer or virus cleaning from a remote location or access to your accounts
- The IRS will NEVER call you for the first contact.
- Emails or texts that have very poor grammar or language usage or that seem very generic are a good indication.
- Payments for above the amount asked for, whether it is by money order or PayPal, is usually a fraud.
- Pop-up ads that do not seem out of place, especially if they are asking for personal information. Scammers are very good at making themselves look like a well trusted company. Verify.
- Any legitimate company should provide a method of accessing information on their website. Do not click on links in emails you are not 100% sure about.
You can find more information about scams, how to protect yourself and how to report them on the following links:
You can never take too much care when operation online or dealing with individuals you do not know personally. You shouldn’t be scared, but just use caution and follow good consumer education tips!
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