There are many benefits to society’s implementation of technology. However, it also opens a window for potential scammers to swoop in. If you don’t know what to look out for, you’re already at risk. Here are the three main tactics scammers will use to try and fool you.
Scammer Tactic #1: Emails
Scammers can easily use your email against you. They find it using bots that comb millions of websites and harvest people’s personal information. From there, the scam could go one of three ways. They’ll either use it to pretend to be you, get your passwords to personal accounts, or get you to click on their link.
Common Email Scams:
- Winning the Lottery (especially if you didn’t enter): If you receive an email saying you won the lottery, compare your numbers to the winners before reacting.
- Posing as Amazon (or other major corporations): While Amazon will send you emails, the return address will always end in @amazon.com. If it ends in anything else, do not respond. The same goes for most other corporations.
- Banking/Paypal Notices: “Act now or your account will be shut down!” Your bank will always send you a warning letter or call, never an email.
- Unknown Links: In general, don’t click on links if you don’t know where they’ll take you.
- Government Agency: The government will never reach out to you by email. Scammers like to pose as officials (i.e. IRS agents) to panic you into giving them money.
Scammer Tactic #2: Texts
Scammers may reach out to you via text, often to intrigue you enough to click their link. If you get a text from a number that looks the same as yours, it’s a scam. If you get a text from an unknown number, assume it’s a scam. If you get an image text from a scantily clad woman, it is a scam. This may include phishing scams or an attempt to install viruses or malware into your device. Don’t answer texts if it wouldn’t make sense for the alleged sender to have your phone number.
Common Text Scams:
- Winning a Contest: If you get a text saying you won a contest, google the phone number. If nothing comes up, that’s a red flag.
- Survey: If you get a text asking you to take a survey, the only time it’s legit is if you were previously notified that you’d be getting this text.
- Banking/PayPal: Again, they’ll send a letter of warning.
- Old Friend: If you get a text from a friend that you haven’t spoken to in years, ask yourself how they got that phone number. It’s probably not them.
Scam Tactic #3: Websites
Rather than sending a link to a suspicious website, some scammers prefer to get you to visit it yourself. They can do this by cheating the SEO system to get their scam site higher in the search results than the legitimate ones. They also might make a website with a URL almost identical to a legitimate website. Double-check URLs before visiting a site.
Common Website Scams
- Fake Antivirus: Ironically, one of the easiest ways to catch a virus is by downloading a fake antivirus. Most computers come with a built-in antivirus, but a few trustworthy ones to look into are Norton, McAfee, AVG, and BiteFinder.
- “You Win!”: If you make a google search, click a link, and get a message saying you’re the millionth search and you’ve won money it’s a scam. There are 5.6 billion google searches per day.
- Quick Money: Anything that says you can get money by completing a few simple tasks (i.e. “take this quick survey!”) is most likely a scam. If it seems too good to be true it is.
- Tech Support: If you need tech support, make sure the website is officially linked to the product you need help with.
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