The old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” is still true today. Here are some tips to you recognize whether you’re being scammed:

    1. Imposters – Scammers often pretend to be someone you know and trust – government officials, family members, or a charity. This is called social engineering. The cyber criminals are trying to convince you to do what they ask because of who they are pretending to be.
    2. Research online – Check out the company, person, product or service by doing a web search on them with the words “complaint,” “review,” or “scam” added at the end. This will help you find others who may have fallen victim to the same scheme.
    3. Don’t trust your caller ID – With spoofing (the imitating of numbers) on the rise, caller ID is not always a great way to verify the caller.
    4. Don’t pay up front for a promise – Have you been promised something but need to pay for it first? This is a HUGE red flag and should be treated with extreme caution.
    5. Reach out to someone – Before following through with what has been asked of you, talk to someone you know and trust. A lot of times, their outside perspective can help you see how the request does not make sense.

Scam filter

Check out this short questionnaire from the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, you may be getting scammed!

    • Are you about to cash a check from an item you sold on the Internet, such as a car, boat, jewelry, etc.?
      1. Is it the result of communicating with someone by email?
      2. Did it arrive via an overnight delivery service?
      3. Is it from a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item or product?
      4. Is the amount for more than the item’s selling price?
    • Are you sending money overseas?
      1. Did you win an international lottery you did not enter?
      2. Have you been asked to pay money to receive an inheritance from another country?
      3. Are you receiving a commission for accepting money transfers through your bank and/or Paypal account?

 

What should you do?

For more information, please check out these great articles:

Have another thought, tip or suggestion? Leave it in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

Posted by Elvis Huff

Elvis Huff worked as an officer and network administrator for 12 years with the Lebanon Police Department and has also served as an adjunct professor in information systems at Cumberland University. Read More »

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