(HorizonPost.com) – In the age of technology, online scams are a major issue for many Americans. Criminals deploy several tactics to steal people’s hard-earned money from them and, unfortunately, the internet makes it easier to do just that.
In 2018, Americans reportedly lost more than $2.4 billion from scams online. So, how do you protect yourself from becoming a victim?
Know What to Look For
You can’t protect yourself from what you don’t know is a threat. To keep up with the latest threats, you should check out the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website regularly to see what the agency is warning consumers about. It keeps a running list of the schemes that are impacting Americans’ wallets.
Some of the most popular online scams fall into a few categories:
- Phishing: Scammers will send unsuspecting people emails or social media messages to hopefully trick them into giving up their personal information or infecting their computer with a virus that will steal it.
- Romance scams: Sometimes a criminal will pose as a person interested in a relationship and then try to get that person to send them money or personal information.
- Employment Schemes: People often use the internet to look for jobs, and scammers know that. They’ll pose as potential employers to obtain an applicant’s personal information, or have them pay for some sort of “service” that doesn’t exist.
- Charity scams: Empathy comes naturally to most people, and it makes them want to help the downtrodden. Criminals know that and profit from it by setting up fake charities with the sole purpose of stealing money from generous people.
How to Protect Yourself
Protecting yourself from scams can be simple. Just follow these simple rules:
- Never give your personal information to someone you do not know, including an online love interest or potential employer.
- Never send money to an organization you have not researched or a person you do not know.
- Never open a link sent to you on social media or through email from a questionable source or from someone you do not know.
- Never accept friend requests from strangers on social media sites.
Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. You are the keeper of your information: Do not just give it to people freely.
Copyright 2020, HorizonPost.com