While it is easy to know tips to avoid scams, many people still fall prey to
The social networking site is more than just a place to connect with friends, it is a scammers paradise. Ever see a friend post about scoring a free gift card to a chain restaurant? Yeah. That is never real. Nothing is free, especially gift cards on Facebook. Often times those “free” offerings are a ploy to get your contact information.
Have you ever seen a friend “promoting” a giveaway or a post with a random link? Those are posted by scammers who have hacked into your friend’s account. Alert your friend so the password can be changed immediately. Clicking on one of those links will likely saddle you with a virus, so do not click on anything that is strange.
Another popular and successful scam is when friends receive a message from someone saying they are stranded in Europe and need someone to send them money to get home. Since it comes from their friend or loved one’s account, it must be real, right? Wrong. Facebook is easily hacked. If you are concerned that your friend might be in a financial problem abroad, confirm with family and others to confirm they are traveling and in need. But think twice. Would you really using a social networking site if you are in need of some cash?
Some scammers can access your information by hacking or using viruses. Others get the information from you through phishing. Phishing is getting people to reveal confidential information on their own accord. The goal is to get your personal data (account numbers, social security numbers, etc) to use later.
The easiest thing to remember is never give your password to anyone. Only enter it is if you are the one who directly logged into the website. Ever receive an email from you bank asking you to reset your password? The link in the email will take you to a look alike website that will prompt you for your personal information to “reset” your password. This info could include your social security number, account number, current password, mother’s maiden name, etc. Basically, it is all the information the scammer needs to access your account. And they got it all from you.
If you get such an email or phone call, do not respond. Call your bank (or whatever institution is supposedly contacting you) directly yourself. You can discover if they really tried to contact you or if you are prey to a scammer.
Scammers on classifieds websites like Craigslist are getting tricky. A scammer will seek out a buyer who is selling, say, a $100 book. Instead of sending cash, the scammer will send $200 in the form of a cashier’s check with the request of sending the excess back. The problem is the cashier’s check is a fake. And now the seller is out the money. Never cash a cashier’s check and be wary if someone doesn’t send the exact amount.
Be smart and don’t get scammed.