Money scams are nothing new. On some level, everyone who owns a phone, landline or mobile, has interacted with a money scammer at some point in their life. However, money scammers can also take the form of pre-recorded audio calls, personal emails, messages on social media sites, and many more, so no one can say that they are not at risk of being contacted and possibly duped by these tricky thieves. In today’s technological age, identifying and avoiding money scammers is a need-to-know skill. Whether you consider yourself a tech-wiz or if you know you are not the most tech-savvy, it is important to know the signs of a money scam, in all its forms, to protect not only your money but possibly other sensitive information as well.
The first sign of a scam can often be confusion. If you are receiving a call, email, or message and you do not recognize the sender or their company that should be the first red flag. If they are asking for payment on something you do not recognize or remember, you should be wary and cautious with any information they are asking for. Do not let yourself be pressured into giving your personal information no matter how “urgent” the matter appears to be. Real businesses will never ask for personal and private information over the internet. You can always hang up or delete the email and call the business or person the scammer is pretending to be to confirm their ask.
The fastest way to get out of a scamming situation is to simply hang up or stop responding to the messages. Then you should review your records of any such payment plan or check to see if you truly have any dealings with said company. You can even block email addresses or users from social media sites so you can cut off all contact for however long you need. If you are not comfortable hanging up without explanation you can simply say, “I need to check my records before I make any payments to your company.” This should give you time to do your research and ask family or friends if they have received any such calls or online messages.
If this person you don’t know or recognize begins asking for personal information, such as your Social Security number, credit card number, or bank account information do NOT give that information over the phone or electronically. Ask whoever you are communicating with if there is a way you can meet with them or their company representatives in person or call back at their official business number, and if the answer is no then this is likely a scam.
One proactive step you can take to protect yourself even further would be to “register your phone number with the National Do Not Call Registry. You may register online or by calling 1-888-382-1222. If you still receive telemarketing calls after registering, there’s a good chance that the calls are scams.” as stated in an article on the USA.gov website on common scams. Whether you receive an unfamiliar or suspicious call, text, email, or online message, always remember that no reputable company, bank, charity, or investor would ever ask you to give over your personal information. No matter how urgent the call or message coming through seems, there is always time to do additional research to check the validity of the company or situation at hand.