(NewsBreakDaily.com) – Americans face a variety of scams these days, and no one is immune. From fake calls to phishing emails, con artists are forever developing new methods to reach where it hurts the most — your wallet. They’re quite costly, too, with up $3 billion in losses to scams each year. The fact is unscrupulous people can hit you without warning and if you don’t know what to look for, you may find yourself dealing with an expensive headache.
Social Security Spoofing Calls
Social Security spoofing calls have been around for years. A caller pretends to be from the Social Security Administration and does one of two things: threatens you with legal action or tells you your social security number is suspended. To help you, they need you to provide your social security number or press a number on your phone.
While you might think you’d recognize them straight off the bat, they actually “spoof” the SSA’s phone number so the call looks legit on your caller ID. The best thing to do with these calls is to simply hang up. It’s very rare for the SSA to unexpectedly contact anyone by phone and they’ll never threaten you with arrest. If you get one of these scam calls, you can report it online.
Charity scams are also very common, with the con artists preying on peoples’ compassion. These scammers claim to be from some kind of charity organization, pleading for you to help those less fortunate. These aren’t limited to just phone calls, they reach out via email, social media, or even in person. Many times, people are even duped by fake websites.
To avoid these scams, make sure you are donating to a reputable organization before letting them tug at your heartstrings or wallet. Take the time to investigate a specific charity using online resources such as the Exempt Organizations Select Check Tool or the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.
Email Phishing Scams
Phishing scams come in the form of emails trying to get you to provide sensitive information such as your Social Security number, birthdate, mother’s maiden name, and account numbers or passwords.
It’s easy to protect yourself though. Avoid clicking on links in emails from unknown sources and never enter sensitive information into a pop-up window from a shady email.
What’s a shady email? That’s a good question because scammers take great care to make them look real. Pay attention to the sender of the email. A legitimate one will have the company website as the sender. They often only change a letter or add a punctuation mark, enough to look legitimate to those who only take a cursory glance.
To be safe, open the website in your browser rather than clicking on links in emails. And, if you’re unsure as to its validity, call the company directly.
With lottery and sweepstakes scams, the criminal contacts you through phone, text, regular mail, or email and tells you that you’ve won a prize — often for a raffle you’ve never heard of nor entered. How exciting! The catch? If you want to claim the prize, you first have to pay them money.
Ignore any prize that requires you to pay money upfront. Never give out your personal information to someone claiming you have won a prize — especially your banking info.
What to Remember
There are a lot of different scams that Americans face regularly these days. The biggest thing to remember if you want to avoid falling victim to them is to safeguard your personal information.
If you receive a call or email that seems suspicious, trust your gut and contact the organization through their official phone number or website before you hand over any of your sensitive information.
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