Fraudsters and scammers are becoming savvier in their tactics all the time. But as long as you stay savvy too, you can avoid being a victim of common scams.
Here are just a few popular scams that you should know about.
Online Shopping Scams
Seeing as we’re all so used to buying products from websites, it can be easy to forget that some sites may not be as legitimate as we think.
One common online shopping scam involves setting up a fake website to make it look like a genuine one. For instance, a scammer will create a fake retail website for a well-known brand, complete with stolen branding, and offer products for sale at an extremely low price.
Once people place orders, they receive either counterfeit products, defective products, or nothing at all.
If a legitimate retailer sent you a defective product, you would have the option to return it. You would also have the option to initiate legal action for product liability and claim compensation. But you can’t do that when you purchase from scammers.
The online shopping scam described above also means that the fraudsters who operate the fake website could steal your credit card information and use it to make purchases and run your account dry.
To avoid such a scam, always double-check that you’re on a retailer’s genuine website, by checking the address bar and security status.
Cybersecurity is crucial for both individuals and for businesses.
If you have any doubt that the website is fake, never enter your card details.
There are lots of different types of specific phishing scams, but they all involve the same premise: you receive an email, text, or phone call that appears to be from a genuine company or institution.
You’re then asked for personal information, such as your bank account details, your social security number, or your credit card number.
For instance, you could get an email from your bank stating that it needs to verify your account number. In reality, it will be a scammer who wants to steal your information and money.
So, never give out your personal information until you’re absolutely certain that you’re dealing with a genuine company. If you’re unsure, contact the company yourself, using official contact details.
Most companies never ask for personal information when they contact you.
Bogus Debt Scams
This type of scam involves receiving a threatening letter that demands you pay a debt that you are unaware of.
Bogus debt scams involve playing on people’s fear. By using threatening language, the fake letters will scare some people into paying. If you receive a letter or are contacted in another way, that refers to a debt you’re unaware of, don’t pay. If you do, your money and even your identity could be stolen.
If you’re not sure whether the letter is a scam or not, look up the contact details for the organization to which the debt refers and contact that organization independently.
Advance Fee Scams
If someone contacts you informing you that you have won the lottery, only you need to pay an administration fee before you can be sent the funds, it’s a scam.
The same goes for other types of advance fee scams. You could be contacted by someone who says you are eligible for something like a tax rebate or an inheritance but you need to first pay advance fees.
Again, never pay the fees. If you have any doubt as to the genuineness of the call you receive, contact the company the person purports to be from directly.
Though you should never have to pay a fee to receive something like a lottery win or a rebate, so if you’re contacted in this way, it will almost always be a scam.
By staying savvy, you can avoid being a victim of advance fee scams and the other scams mentioned above.