Make Ends Meet: How to prevent being scammed
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Imagine donating to a noble cause, paying a delinquent bill nothing about it, or giving money to an online lover who says they desperately need help.
The money or financial information is sent, only to find out it was a scam.
It happens more today than ever before, and folks are scammed out of hundreds or maybe even thousands of dollars.
People think it would never happen to them.
Now, security experts say people should be so on guard and should think, ‘when will it happen to me.’
Social Catfish is a legitimate online investigation service that works daily to help individuals, groups or companies find people and verify information like images, email addresses, phone numbers and online profiles.
They give access to powerful tools to easily search through billions of hard-to-find public records all in one place to find lost connections, verify someone’s online profiles, and manage online data.
The best thing people can do is equip themselves with the knowledge to avoid becoming a victim if they can.
Breanne McClellan is the co-founder of Social Catfish and finds that scams change quickly and often.
“We’ve seen literally every type of scam you can think of,” exclaimed McClellan.
McClellan shared information from a new study showing online scammers have broken the $10 billion mark for the first time ever when it comes to stealing hard-earned cash.
”The scammers are out there, and they’re learning new ways to scam and be deceitful,” explained McClellan.
The 31-page study includes information released from the Federal Trade Commission and the FBI. America is the most-scammed country in the world.
The scammed money is often sent to foreign fraudsters according to the study.
U.S. law enforcement has no jurisdiction in those countries, so most of that money never gets recovered. Just one reason it is so critical to avoid scams before they occur. McClellan says people must be the first line of defense.
“We have to be vigilant and stay on top of it,” proclaimed McClellan.
The first step in preventing a scam is to protect personal information.
“Never send any personal information to someone you have never met face to face,” stressed McClellan.
Personal information is the gateway to your present and future monetary wealth. It holds all the records that represent the journey of your life.
“Once a scammer has your personal information, they can do just about anything with that,” exclaimed McClellan.
Never give out personal information via phone or email.
Take time every month to look at bank statements and credit card charges. Check credit reports.
People are entitled to one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies.
Shred all important documents before throwing them away. A thief may find a dumpster a great place to dive, and hacking a computer is a lot easier if passwords are too easy or all the same.
Make passwords long, using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols; and change them monthly. When shopping online, only buy online with a credit card. If your debit card is compromised, scammers have direct access to your bank funds. PayPal can be considered just as safe.
“Pay attention to the red flags,“ stressed McClellan. “Maybe you’re talking to someone, and you notice poor grammar.”
Text or email demanding money or offering a deal that is too good to be true can also be scams. Do not be in a rush to give money just because someone is demanding it.
“Do not give any money,” McClellan said. “Anyone you have not met face to face. Another huge red flag is them asking for payment through a gift card or crypto.”
A breakdown of information from the report - State of Internet Scams 2023 can be found by clicking or tapping here.
If you are the victim of a scam or attempted scam, report it to the ReportFraud.ftc.gov
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