There are an endless number of scammers right now looking to take your money and I'm sure we've all gotten a ridiculous number of calls texts or emails from both strange and familiar phone numbers and email addresses. So, I wanted to put together this quick series on fraud to help you keep your money safe.
The first scam I want to cover is phone spoofing.
This is when scammers disguise their number in your caller ID. They can make it look as if the number comes from a company or a person that you might know. Sometimes they're even able to use your same area code in the first few digits of your phone number to make you feel more comfortable answering it, because obviously you recognize those numbers which is a really weird thing that they're doing. They typically will use scripts that contain information that they found out about you online using social media or they'll use a sense of urgency to try to rush you into quickly giving them a response.
The best thing that you can do is to just ignore these numbers that pop up that you're not familiar with and I know this can be hard because sometimes you miss actual real phone calls. I've done this myself, but you don't want to accidentally provide information to a number that you just think is real because it looks familiar to you. And on the whole topic of giving away your personal information, just don't do that over the phone. Remember that your credit union or bank will never ask you for any personal information, like your account number or social security number or pin number, they're just not going to do that. But if you ever feel uncomfortable, remember that you can always just hang up the phone. You're not required to just answer any questions that someone asks you over the phone. Most banks or credit unions won't even mind if you do this. You can just call them back using the number on the back of your debit card, just to make sure that you're actually getting through to the right place and that the information they're asking you is truly the information that they need and not just someone trying to steal all of your personal data.
Since we were talking about fake phone calls, I think it's only appropriate now to talk about fake websites.
So, scammers, they are really good at creating fake websites that look a lot like the real thing. But, instead of taking you to your checking account, they're actually stealing everything that you're typing in on the screen.
It can be really frustrating that we have to even look out for these things, but I think it's better to be prepared than to get scammed. So, here are some things that you should keep in mind and to look out for when you're browsing the internet just to make sure you're not on a fake website. Now scammers, they will often get you to visit these fake websites via email. Before you click on a link in those emails, because you know they often try to like disguise them into some weird messages, you first want to confirm that the email address that they're sending this message from is a legit email address.
Now if it looks unfamiliar or has typos in it then there's a chance that this is a fake email. For example, you might get a message from Google and it'll say something like this message comes from support at google.com, but Google is spelled with three O's.
Another way that scammers can get you to click on a link is by hacking in and stealing the email address of someone you know and then sending you email requesting that you click some type of link or fill out some of your personal information. Now if this email is from a co-worker or a friend and it seems kind of odd or out of the ordinary, like why would they be asking me for this information. It's an important time to just pause, take time and then call them directly. You don't want to respond back to the email, because if they've been compromised, then you're just going to be responding to the hacker and they're like yeah of course this is me, give me your Social Security number.
So, you want to avoid all of that, just never respond back to a suspicious email.