9 Tips to Avoid Falling for Financial Scams
Scammers are becoming more sophisticated in terms of the tricks that they use to get their hands on your personal or financial details and eventually, your money. But there are ways to protect yourself from these unscrupulous personalities, such as the following:
1. Don’t send money to a stranger.
Made up stories such as a stranger over the Internet seeking for help in accumulating thousands of dollars at the moment in order to access millions of dollars from an inheritance or something of the sort. You will be further urged to contribute your hard-earned money with the promise that you will be rewarded for your kindhearted gesture by thousands of dollars. This might be an ancient scam on the Internet, but there are still people who fall for this or for similar stories.
But don’t wire money to anyone because it is extremely difficult to get the money back or even trace it to the recipient. If you receive an email from someone you know, make sure to check with that person yourself. If they deny sending that email, then at least they’d be alerted that their account has been hacked and you’d be able to avoid getting scammed.
2. Don’t click on email hyperlinks.
Scammers often embed a hyperlink or attachment in a suspicious email to obtain your financial information, but you can avoid this trap by not clicking on any hyperlink or opening the attachment from an unfamiliar sender. Delete that email, even if it might look like an email from your credit card company or bank.
3. Keep your personal and financial information private.
Don’t divulge sensitive financial and personal details about yourself to anyone who might be claiming to need them because they need it to update your account or they are from the government. Many scammers have used texts, calls or emails to urge potential victims to reveal their Social Security number, credit card number, or other financial information, which they may then use in personal identity theft or stealing your money. Contact your bank or credit card company if you have been contacted by someone pretending to be from these financial institutions.
4. Use difficult passwords and change them regularly.
Using “12345,” your birthday or the name of your beloved pet would make you vulnerable to so many security threats. Hackers can easily find out these pieces of information. Instead, you should make passwords that include lower and upper case letters, special characters, and numbers. Make sure to change these passwords regularly. You can also use password programs to help you create strong, solid passwords.
5. Shop only in familiar, trusted online retailers.
It is safer to buy from trusted online retailers, but if you really need to buy products from an unfamiliar shop, research about it first. Better yet, check with your local Better Business Bureau or look for reviews about that new retailer first to see if there are complaints that could serve as red flags about it.