2020 saw an increase in online fraud with scammers finding new ways to trick people out of their money or personal data. Virtual thieves are savvier than ever, using a variety of schemes to target unsuspecting victims.
While the Nigerian prince email scam is still around, most people have learned not to fall for its promise of easy riches in exchange for your banking credentials. Today’s digital scams are much more sophisticated, targeting you via email, social media and text messages often with links to websites designed to look legitimate.
Here are some tips to help you spot some of today’s most common scams:
1. Your vision isn’t bad, it’s a fake.
One way to easily spot a scam email or text is bad formatting. Logos look blurry, stretched or out of place. The language is odd, unprofessional or hard to read. All of these are signs that you’ve received a scam email.
You’ve won a free gift card! The old saying “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is” is relevant now more than ever. Whether it’s the promise of work from home jobs that pay well above what they should, online surveys that offer easy cash or free anti-virus software - anything that seems too lucky or incredible is probably a scam.
2. REPLY NOW!
Scammers love to play on your emotions, creating a false sense of urgency in the hopes that you’ll act first and think later. If you receive an email or text message that’s in all capital letters or uses language that demands you respond immediately, chances are it’s a scam.
3. Do I know you?
When social distancing and safer at home rules limited in-person interactions, people found new ways to connect online. Unfortunately, this opened the door to new scamming opportunities. Using fake personas, fraudsters learned how to exploit people through online relationships, moving fast to bond and gain trust, then asking for money and disappearing after receiving it. Stay safe by following this simple rule – if you don’t know them in real life, then you don’t really know them.