Avoiding scams, frauds and bad deals is a lot like avoiding a cold or the flu: You never know where you got infected.
That’s why you need to be vigilant and take precautions to protect yourself from financial fraud. These tips will help you avoid getting sick from the most common scams, frauds and bad deals out there:
- Take time to research anything that sounds too good to be true. All it takes is a Google search for the name of the product or service you’re considering, plus the word “scam” or “review,” to often find an article or forum thread discussing its legitimacy.
- Never give out your credit card number, Social Security number or other personal information to someone who calls you unexpectedly. Even if they claim to represent your bank, utility company or another organization you trust, they could just as easily be pretending. Instead, hang up and call that business back using a phone number you’ve looked up on your own. That way, if it’s legitimate, they can help you resolve any issues. If not, you just saved yourself potentially hundreds of dollars in fraudulent charges.
- Don’t click on links in emails unless you’re sure they’re from legitimate sources. Also, don’t download attachments from unsolicited emails because they can contain malware.
- Make sure websites are secure. Look for “https” in the website address, or look for an icon of a lock or other security symbol when shopping online.
- Be careful about what you post on social media, such as where you’re traveling or how much time you’ll be away from home.
- If you get a pop-up ad — especially one that claims that there’s a problem with your computer — ignore it and close the window immediately. If you’re concerned that there might be a real problem with your computer, contact your tech support department at work or your internet service provider right away.