BBB Tip: Five resolutions for a fraud-free new year
January 5, 2021: Every year, millions of consumers fall prey to scams. Some lose money immediately, while others become the victims of identity theft which can lead to years of problems. Fortunately, there are practical resolutions one can make to help keep their wallet and identity safe in 2021.
By taking a few practical measures, anyone can help make the upcoming year fraud-free for themselves and their family.
Resolve to be cautious with email. Be on guard when receiving unsolicited emails from a person or a company. Remember, scammers can make emails look like they are from a legitimate business, government agency, or reputable organization (even BBB!). Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
Resolve to never send money to strangers. Haven’t met someone face to face? Do not send money, especially if the person requests a payment be wire transferred or made using a prepaid debit card or CashApp. Money sent in this way is untraceable and once sent, there’s no getting it back. Scammers will try to trick you into panicking. Don’t fall for it!
Resolve to do research before making online payments and purchases. When shopping online, if asked to make a payment, research before entering payment information. A consumer needs to ask, is this a person or business they can trust? Do they have a working customer service number? Would payments be made through a secure server? Have others complained about the company?
Resolve to use your best judgment when sharing personal information. Sharing sensitive, personal information with scammers can lead to ID theft. A person should never share banking and credit card information, birthdate, address, Social Security number or Medicare number with someone who contacted them out of the blue.
Resolve to be social media smart. Make use of privacy settings on social media sites and only connect with familiar people. One needs to be careful about including personal information in their profile and never reveal their address and other sensitive information – even in a “fun” quiz. Scammers may use this information to make themselves pass as a friend or relative to try and build trust. Also, be careful when buying products seen on social media. BBB Scam Tracker has received thousands of complaints about misleading Facebook and Instagram ads.
For More Information
To learn more about scams, go to BBB.org/ScamTips. For more about avoiding scams, check out BBB.org/AvoidScams. If you’ve been targeted by this scam, help others avoid the same problem by reporting your experience at BBB.org/ScamTracker. Stay up on the latest scams by subscribing to BBB Scam Alerts emails.
For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, please contact Marilyn Huffman at 928-772-3410 or firstname.lastname@example.org.