At one point or another, most people will come across a scam or two. In the digital age we have an untold number of ways to have our information stolen. We also have smarter criminals that have learned to manipulate us into giving away our information or signing up for things we never knew we signed up for—then—before you know it—you're in trouble. However, here we will discuss ways you can be proactive in your own protection.
Remember to use common sense and look before you leap. Sometimes when those bells go off and you just know something is wrong—you have to go with it. For example, if a deal of some sort seems like it's too good to be true—then it is. Make sure you are getting a qualified opinion about any deal you are contemplating embarking on.
When you are pressured to give in to a deal on the spot—then skip it. The best example of a red flag deal is when the sales person says – “So, what credit card do you want to charge this to?” then when you tell them you aren't ready—they will tell you the promotion or deal may not be there when you get back. It is called a “rebuttal” and they are trained to get around any excuse you have.
Make it an annual routine to check your credit report. This is sometimes the only way some people find out that there identity has been stolen. A free credit report can be obtained from the official website. Make sure you are getting the report from all three credit report systems.
Never agree to make a money transfer to a third party and make sure all of the funds are cleared from checks written prior to wiring back overpayment to anyone. Never share chain letters or take part in pyramid schemes because there are too many that go no where.
There are also scams that can be potentially dangerous. Never let a sales person or anyone who comes to the door into your home. If you didn't order a repairman—check with other members of your household before letting anyone in. You could be either giving your information away or you could get hurt or worse. If you are not sure this is a person from a reputable company then ask to see their ID and call the company before you let them in.
There are all types of scams—and this can be tricky because you won't view them as a scam. For example—most people only identify a scam with a deal for sale etc..but what about those get-rich-quick scams? You know the ones—when someone wants you to go in on a quick scheme to make you big money. Well they do it in two ways now especially when so many people are out of work. They will tell you to buy a membership and maybe even products and then you are left with a monthly fee as a “member” and a lot of product to spare. These scams—especially ones that are linked to computer work like copy and pasting links will promise that you will earn all this affiliate cash when someone clicks on them but they really end up with you working double time and you getting very little if anything at all. What actually ends up happening is that company gets free advertising labor and makes the money—not you.
There are also scams that are built around stealing your identity. When people call on the phone or you are filling forms out online you need to make sure you are aware of and know how to spot. First, never under any circumstance should you be talked into giving your personal information on the phone to anyone so when someone you are not connected to or trust calls and asks—shut it down. Never answer an SMS or MMS because it could give someone a lock on your phone and your information.
Second, when online you have to take notice of two things. One, look at the browser and see that there is a padlock next to the web address. If there is then it is a secure site but you should be familiar with it first. But there is another way they get your information. It is called a “capture page”. For example—you are going to do a job application and you get a screen that asks you to put your information in it you need to look at the very bottom and the top corners. You will generally see that it is a false screen and it is some kind of school or offer. Then all of a sudden you are getting calls out of nowhere and the person calling has accused you of “asking for information” because you filled out the form. Once you notice it is an offer—look for a very small x or a “no thanks” button and get out of there.
This is a very common one for people who are renting out of town or sending for goods from a distance. You will be asked to pay an amount and they will send you the overpayment back as a deposit. There are several ways this can go but either way—you need to make it a cardinal rule never to send or wire money to anyone you don't know.
Watch out for phone numbers beginning with 19 and 190. These are charged at a premium rate and will quite possibly cause your cell phone to be hijacked. That means the information that is personal identification information and any payment information that is saved in the phone gets taken as well
The bottom line on this is—scams are everywhere and they are hard to spot but with these top tips and descriptions you can avoid many of the big ones and save yourself the inconvenience.