Fraudsters, identity thieves and scammers are increasingly crafty, and it is their goal to get their hands on your money. Most scams tend to follow a certain pattern, according to the Federal Trade Commission, and there are four key signs that someone might be trying to separate you from your money:
- Fraudsters pretend to be someone you know. They use a variety of tricks to impersonate those familiar to you, whether a loved one, your boss who’s on vacation, the government, a charity you support or a company you regularly do business with.
- They claim there’s trouble or a reward. Whatever the message is, it’s likely to get your blood pressure up. The imposters might be warning you of a problem with your account, a family emergency, computer problems or even fraud. Sometimes they reel you in with good news like winning the lottery or offering an unexpected refund.
- Whatever it is, it’s sure to be time sensitive. These swindlers want to play on your emotions, relying on you to act before you have time to think. They will do whatever they can to keep you on the line, through threats, coercion and manipulation. Anytime something is urgent, it should be an immediate red flag.
- They will always ask for money. They’ll also be specific about HOW they want you to pay. Common methods include wire transfers, putting money on a gift card, giving them access to your bank account or sending you a check and asking for a portion of it back.
Now that you know tell-tale signs of a scam, here are some steps you can take to avoid being a victim:
- Never give out your account login information or grant someone else access to your phone or computer
- Even if you’re emotionally invested in what’s happening, take the time to stop and think before you act
- Verify the person’s legitimacy by hanging up/not responding. On your own, locate and contact them through their email address or phone number.
- Be suspicious of anyone asking for a very specific type of payment, particularly a method that can’t be reversed or cancelled
- Use unique, complex passwords to help keep your online accounts secure
- Block unwanted calls and text messages
- Use caution when opening email attachments
Remember, most trustworthy organizations you do business with will never ask for your login information or pressure you to send them money. If you think something sounds fishy, trust your gut and stop. Call a trusted friend or advisor and ask for guidance.
At Solarity, your security is of utmost importance to us. When in doubt, you can always call us or click on “chat with us” via our website.