In my last article on this topic, I covered six scams to be wary of. Below are more to be alert to:
- Never feel pressured to give personal information over the phone.
- Never pay over the phone with gift cards.
- Don’t click on a link in an email to update information.
- Be wary of false urgency.
- Don’t wire money for a stranded friend or relative.
- Do not click on a link in a text message.
As a reminder, scammers fake real companies to separate you from your money. And they can start by having some of your real information.
Scammers love to go on the dark web and buy your personal information like social security numbers, email addresses, passwords, names, and credit card numbers so they can reach out to you, or pretend to be you and open credit accounts using that personal information.
A typical social security number sells on the dark web for about $2. If it comes with a name and date of birth, now it’s worth $4 or $5. Credit card information is more valuable at $25 to $35. A hacked Facebook account can fetch $65.
- Posting your date of birth. When you post your date of birth on a social media website, like Facebook or LinkedIn, you open yourself up to identity theft. Do not post your date of birth anywhere.
- Google Voice Scam. This comes from the AARP Bulletin. Never share verification codes with anyone. Let’s say you posted an online notice selling something and provided your phone number. The interested crook will call you and request you confirm you are not a scammer. They tell you that you will get a verification code from Google and have you read it back to them. What they are doing is setting up a Google Voice account in YOUR name so they can scam others and use YOUR name while hiding from law enforcement.
- Fake job frauds. This is where scammers get contact info and personal details from resumes posted on real job sites. They contact you to get additional information they can use for identity theft. Or they request you send money for fake at-home job materials.
- Phony tax collectors. Anything from the IRS or Social Security can be used to induce you to pay money to stay out of jail or stop your benefits from being frozen. No real government agency will ever call you asking for money.
- Eligible for a tax refund. Be wary of any call, email or message on social media that you are eligible for a tax refund or renters credit and all you need to do is provide personal information. I received this scam on Facebook that I could collect $26,000 to $200,000 from the government that was not a loan, but a grant that did not have to be repaid. It came from a fake Facebook account using the name of someone I actually knew. When I contacted my friend he confirmed it was not his Facebook page.
If you are age 50 or older you can join AARP and have access to trained fraud specialists who can provide support and guidance on what to do if you get scammed, and how to avoid scams. You can call the AARP Fraud Watch Network helpline at 877-908-3360 for free.
So stay alert, be safe, and be prosperous.
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To Your Prosperity,