What Are The Worst Scams of 2012 and 2013?
As long as people have been doing business and exchanging goods, scams have prevailed. There are many people out there who are trying to steal your personal information or worse, your money.
With today's digital world it has become increasingly easier for scammers to target their victims. Find out what the worst scams of 2012 were and how to avoid becoming a victim. Education is the key to avoiding falling prey to these scams.
Don't Get Scammed!
The Newest Scams: Social Networks and Media
No sharing and social media site is free from online scams. Facebook, Twitter and even YouTube rank high as a platform for online scammers to set up camp. Many people are on the social networks but may not understand the security settings and can become vulnerable to taking the bait.
What to watch out for:
- Item giveaways and "free" products
- "You Won a Free Vacation, Cruise, etc."
- Enter your email for a chance to win...
- Enter your credit card data: you won't be charged; this is how we verify your age...
If a deal sounds too good to be true it probably is! By clicking on malicious links you can be taken to fake sites and or malware can be downloaded to your computer that allows the scammer to access your private information.
"See, our dog Jake got injured and we have a vet bill that is over $5,000 and we need help to pay it because I was recently laid off from my job...can you donate $5..."
Have you read something that was similar to this? If so, 9 out of 10 chances are that it was a scam. This is often done online and in some cases, people may come up to you on the street with a story of why they need your help. Almost always these are scams! Scammers are con artists that are great at getting you to feel bad for them at an emotional level. They use psychological tactics to make you feel like you should help them. They are very good at what they do!
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Do You Shop Online? Beware!
There are many scammers out there trying to sell you products that are either very poor quality, not what you think you are buying, and in some cases there is no product at all! They take your money and run. Sure they may offer you "100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back..." but when you try to contact the company they have vanished off the face of the earth. Another way that scammers can get you is to set up a lookalike site that looks like a legitimate store but is actually a fake. Beware of unsolicited emails offering a great deal. You should always go to the store's site directly. Don't click on links to major franchises that you haven't opted in to their mailing list.
The classified ads section of any newspaper or website may have many creeps laying their traps to get their victims. Again, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it is! This type of scam is one of the most dangerous as some people have been lured to their death answering an online or newspaper classified ad (remember Craigslist?) The key to staying safe while shopping online is to only use sites that you trust.
Falling For a Scam Is Like Getting Fake Money!
Ever get a pop-up window while you are surfing the Internet? Have you received a text message on your cell phone that says you have won "A $500.00 gift card to Best Buy"? Don't click the link! The only thing you will win is some malware or Trojan virus on your device. Some of these scams allow the user to track you via GPS on your phone. If you are at the mall then you aren't home; great opportunity for someone to go to your house and steal that brand new flat screen tv you got for Christmas!
Identity Theft: The Worst Scam of All!
Identity Theft is on the rise and there is no end in sight. According to certain statistics* as many as 15 million Americans have their identities stolen each year (*source: Identitytheft.info) Each year the number of victims rise significantly. Identity Theft is the new norm and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. People can use your identity to make huge purchases, ruin your credit, steal your money, you may not be able to use your passport, and many other bad things come from Identity Theft. It is not something anyone should have to experience.
Check Out These Scams!
Tips On How To Avoid Being Scammed
As sad as it is there are schemes and scams hiding around every corner. No street or web page is safe from these greedy people. They prey on the weak, the naive, the uninformed...don't become a statistic!
Here are some actions you can take to avoid scams and having your identity stolen:
- Shred all personal documents that contain important and private information (Social Security number, bank accounts, etc)
- Don't carry unnecessary documents in your purse or wallet (social security cards, passport, etc.)
- Do not throw out old bank or credit card statements; shred them!
- Protect your work records and tax information
- Get a filing cabinet with a lock or better yet, a fire safe. Store all your important documents inside.
- When shopping take care! Many people (including store personnel) may want to steal your credit card information. Cameras in stores also make it easy for would-be thieves. Pay attention when you use your credit cards in a store (and online).
- Install Antivirus Software on your computer and update it regularly. You should scan your computer for viruses at least once per week.
- Use common sense! If it smells like a rat, it's a rat!
- Don't fall for promotions that sound too good to be true.
- Never share your personal information with others.
- Change your online passwords frequently (banking, email, etc.)
Scams will never go away. In fact there are more and more scams and con artists trying to steal your information and money. If you feel that you have become the victim of a crime or scam contact your local authorities immediately.
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