Scammers are growing more sophisticated all the time in the tactics they use to target unsuspecting people. At the top of the list of scams is passing fake checks. And with so much that is digital now, there has been an uptick in online scamming. People need to be on high alert to protect their personal information and money. Here are a few tips to keep you safe.
Beware of using money apps to pay for merchandise
Scammers try to convince unsuspecting buyers to send them payment via Cash App, Venmo, Apple Cash, and other money transfer services, in exchange for merchandise that does not exist. Do not ever send money using these services to someone you do not know.
Keep a close eye on your credit card and bank accounts
Unexpected charges on your account are typically the first sign that your card or even your whole identity has been stolen. If you think you have been scammed, stay calm and immediately call your credit card company or financial institution.
Take proactive steps to avoid a scam
Some scammers trick their victims by asking them to deposit a check the scammer writes into their bank account, and then have them send money through money transfer services (like Western Union or MoneyGram). However, the deposited check is fake. And once the money is wired out of the bank account to someone else, it is gone and almost impossible to get back.
Be careful with email and websites
If an email has an attachment promising a special offer, do not open it. This could be a trick from someone pretending to be one of your favorite companies. Also, ignore pop-ups that offer deals as you are browsing the web, especially if they seem too good to be true. Be careful when using public Wi-Fi and limit the information you enter while on an unsecured Wi-Fi session. There could be people waiting to steal your information.
Report suspicious activity
If you are ever in doubt about whether something is fraudulent, you can always reach out to your financial institution for assistance. If you think you might have fallen victim to a scam, another resource is the Federal Trade Commission website, where you can report fraud and identity theft: https://www.ftc.gov. If you gave someone personal information (like a Social Security number), you can report that at: https://www.IdentityTheft.gov
It is not easy to keep track of all of the ways scammers are looking to make you a victim of fraud, since the schemes are constantly changing and evolving. Following the tips in this article will help keep you and your money safe.