These three crucial "don'ts" will help you beat the scammers: Internet Scambusters #1,047
Time to make your New Year's resolution to beat the scam artists. And we're here to help.
One in 10 Americans fall victim to them every year, but if you follow our three simple rules, your chances of being caught out will be slashed.
In our first issue of 2023, we'll explain our three "don'ts" to keep you out of harm's way.
Let's get started…
Beat The Scams In '23!
Beat the scammers in '23! How about that for a New Year's resolution? Yes, you can do it.
In a world of uncertainties, one of the few things we can be sure of is that scams targeting consumers in 2023 will likely hit a new record.
One in ten of us will fall victim in the next 12 months. Some people's lives will be changed forever through lost life savings. And the greedy scammers won't care a jot.
Many people think they'd never be scammed. But, time and time again, they're proved wrong. Even security experts, and at least one member of the Scambusters team, admit they've been taken for a ride.
Avoiding scams depends to a large extent on commonsense and keeping a cool head. But sometimes that's easier said than done. However, following three simple rules will protect you from nearly all con tricks.
1. Don't Believe Them
Imposters, people who pretend to be someone they're not, are responsible for nearly all scams.
They could be that friendly guy at church with some financial advice, that stunning good looker you met online, the caller who says you owe money, the police officer who says he's going to jail you, the Craigslist buyer who wants your exercise bike, the property owner offering a great rental deal.
Or the charity fundraiser you want to help. Or the contractor who says they'll repair your roof. Or the friend or relative who sent you that message. Or, well, just about anyone who convinces you they're in need or claims they can make your life easier, better, safer, happier, and so on.
Sadly, your starting point has to be that if you don't want to get scammed, don't trust anyone, don't believe people are who they say they are unless you already know them and you're face to face with them.
Even then, there's no guarantee that neighbor you've known for 20 years isn't going to con you.
Keep your guard up until you've proved beyond doubt to yourself that the person, and what they're saying, are genuine. If you can't do that, then give whatever they're offering or asking for a miss.
2. Don't Rush
Nearly all con artists want your money. It's as simple as that.
And they know the best way of getting you to hand it over is to put you in a blind panic. So, they set a deadline and make dire threats if you don't pay.
They say you're going to jail, your distressed relative is in trouble or even kidnapped, your power supply will be switched off, or you'll miss that bargain price if you delay by a second.
Resolve never to be rushed. No matter how desperate you feel, if the required action involves paying money, give yourself time to check things out. Contact the real person or company who supposedly got in touch with you. Weigh the pros and cons of what you've been told. Take advice from others. Do your research. Read the small print.
And if, as a result, you do miss a genuine bargain, so what? You're still at the same point you were beforehand.
3. Don't Tell
The other way scammers want to get ahold of your money is to trick you into giving them information - things like account and payment card numbers, sign-on details, passwords, Social Security and Medicare numbers.
They do this by sending trick emails, directing you to fake sign-on pages, telling you to "confirm" your information, and even by asking you outright. They also trawl your social media posts to discover more about you - if you put personal stuff on an unprotected Facebook page, you're effectively telling the whole world.
Don't provide confidential information in response to unsolicited requests, unless and until you're 100% sure of who you're dealing with and why they need to know. Be cautious of what you say about yourself on social media and dating sites. And when you're signing in online, make sure you're actually on a legitimate site; don't be fooled just because the page "looks right."
In 2023, you can be sure scammers will be lining up a host of new tricks aimed at deceiving victims into giving them money - either directly or through stolen information.
Despite all the efforts of law enforcement agencies, a scam attempt will almost certainly land in your lap this year. Make sure you're ready to beat the scams.
That's it for today -- we hope you enjoy your week!