Protect Yourself: Learn How to Avoid Being a Victim of Online Fraud or Scams
In the modern world, internet fraud is a very serious issue and is as prominent today as it ever has been. Whether or not you’ve been a victim of online fraud, it is a topic for discussion because it is extremely important for the public to be aware of the signs and the red flags for when they are being scammed or compromised. The best way to deter this type of behavior from scammers and online criminals is to educate the public because, unfortunately, we’re all vulnerable.
All of us at Peridot Consulting take this issue very seriously. We feel it is our role to help prepare everyone to be on the lookout for risky internet behavior. If you believe you are exempt or think no one would be interested in stealing from you, think again. Everyone who is online is susceptible to being hacked.
Whether it’s your personal information such as social security numbers or financial account information, all of it can have a long-lasting effect on a person. And not all scammers are the same, many of them have become quite savvy in how they approach their victims.
Internet criminals will even go as far as hacking into an email account of someone you know, disguising themselves so you think it’s actually your friend or family member. This type of ploy has become an increasingly common way of targeting people.
TOP Red Flags for What to Expect From Financial or Government Institutions:
#1 - NO GOVERNMENT AGENCY, SUCH AS THE IRS OR THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, WILL EVER CALL YOU ON THE PHONE. This is an important fact to know! If someone calls you claiming they are with the IRS or the Social Security Administration, HANG UP!
***A bank or other financial institution will also NEVER call about things such as updating your personal information therefore if a bank calls you, it should only be to schedule an appointment or something along those lines.
If you call that agency or bank back after you hang up and don’t get a menu to pick through, you get a person answering the phone right away? It’s a scam!
If someone calls asking you to verify or update your personal information, hang up! Financial organizations and government would never do this.
When shopping online, ALWAYS use a credit card versus a debit card, if you can. Especially for less popular websites. For larger companies such as Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target (for example) - debit cards are safe but it is not recommended. If you’re unsure about a company's website, contact them about their online security before making any purchases.
Never save your credit card information on a weak, insecure website.
EMAILS/TEXT MESSAGING - if you get an email or a text from a friend or someone close to you but the conversation seems fishy because it is encouraging you to click on a link - call that person and ask them if they sent the message before clicking any links!
Who is the most targeted?
Seniors - Educate your parents!
Women - Educate your friends and family!
Business employees who use email often.
Unfortunately, seniors, women, and business employees are the high at-risk demographic. Especially anyone with a kind heart who doesn’t actually know or understand how often this criminal activity happens. This is why education and communication about what fraud activity looks like are so important.
Make it a point to have this conversation with your family often. Educate the people who are in your inner circle and make them aware of the red flags.
How can you be prepared?
Don’t save credit card or debit card information on E-commerce websites. Again, for example, Amazon, Wal-Mart, Target all very secure E-commerce websites - but, be aware that many websites are not safely securing your private information.
Always take a moment before reacting/responding to a fishy email whether it’s personal or to your professional email. This can also come through as a text message. DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS!
NEVER answer questions on the phone about personal information or banking information.
If someone calls you or emails you saying you’ve won a lottery or contest, do not believe them!
What to do if you think you’ve been scammed?
Reporting the fraud or scam to the appropriate agency meaning your local police or state SBI. This is vitally important because it helps our officials and law enforcement agencies learn more about this type of criminal activity so they can possibly bring people to justice or help deter future online criminal activity.
How to report a scam or fraudulent activity? https://www.usa.gov/stop-scams-frauds
You can always reach out to our team here at Peridot Consulting, we will point you in the right direction for how to deal with a possible scam or fraudulent inquiry. Call or email us anytime! (828) 242-6971 or firstname.lastname@example.org