By: Joyce Wassell
The Federal Trade Commission recently shared that people who talk about scams are much less likely to fall for them. Simply raising awareness of scams lowers the risk that you will be the victim of a scammer. Raising awareness makes all of us more vigilant and better able to protect ourselves and those around us. Whether it is a phone call for fake lottery winnings, an emailed romance or a call from an alleged government official, be sure to visit with others about scams in this socially distanced era of COVID. Here are some suggestions from Daniel Kaufman, acting director at the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection:
• Scammers have lots of fake stories like early or guaranteed access to vaccines (no such thing), you’ve won a prize (you haven’t), your computer needs tech support (it doesn’t), they’re an online love interest (not if they want money).
• Whatever their story, scammers want you to pay or share your personal information (just don’t do it).
• Nobody legit will ever (EVER) tell you to pay by gift card, money transfer, or cryptocurrency.
• No government agency will ever call/email/text to ask you for money, your Social Security, bank account, or credit card number.
One of the best defenses against phone call scammers is to simply hang up. With email scams, do not open any attachments, do not click on any links in the email and delete the email. If there was a financial loss report it to www.ReportFraud.ftc.gov as well as law enforcement depending on the specific details of the incident.