How to spot a scam, and what to do if you’ve been victimized
The BBB is partnering with the Federal Trade Commission to promote National Consumer Protection Week, March 5-11.
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - Tactics used by scammers are changing. According to data released last year by the Better Business Bureau, online scams have increased 87% since 2015, while phone scams have decreased by 42%.
The week is devoted to informing consumers of their rights and educating the public about scam and ID theft prevention, rights that could make all the difference in today’s rough-and-tumble, internet-based financial landscape.
BBB’s basics for safeguarding against scams
At the very least, guard yourself with these fundamental consumer protection tips:
- When someone you have not met asks you to send them money, especially by wire transfer, prepaid debit card or gift card, don’t do it.
- Never click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails or texts. That’s how crooks put malware on your devices.
- Don’t trust the legitimacy of something by its looks. Emails and websites are easy to fake with copied logos and graphics.
- Don’t trust caller IDs. It can be faked to read any way a crook wants.
- Buy online only from legitimate sources with a website address with the “s” in “https.” Look for the lock icon in the address bar as well.
- Look up any company you’re unfamiliar with at BBB.org.
- Treat your personal identification information securely. Don’t give it away to anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Banking, Social Security, and insurance numbers should be closely guarded.
- Anyone pressuring you to act quickly could be a scammer who doesn’t want you to have time to consider the “offer seriously.”
- Get details in writing and read them thoroughly.
- Don’t overshare on social media. Con artists can collect information from such sources to make you think they know you.
- Keep your travel plans to yourself and only share them after the fact.
- Shred junk mail, old documents, bills, and medical paperwork.
- Monitor your accounts and check out any unknown transaction, even for tiny amounts (crooks start with small amounts to see if you pay attention).
- Use strong passwords and keep software and virus protections updated constantly.
Be sure to check the FTC website for National Consumer Protection Week events.
Check out ftc.gov for a list of upcoming online events to give you the information you need to stay safe.
Scammers never quit, but they can be thwarted by staying on top of the latest tips and news from organizations that monitor them, like the FTC and BBB.
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