Suppose you’re the type of person like me who is cautious about giving out information. You might want to pay a little bit more attention to this post. I have received at least 13 phone calls from a so-called Amazon associate in the last few weeks. Every time I block the number, it doesn’t matter because they still manage to get through. This weekend they left a message on my machine tells me that someone charged an iPhone valued at $1300 to my Amazon account. The ironic part about that is when they left the message, they left no indicators as to who had the charge, nor did they say a name; there was no information whatsoever but just that someone had charged an iPhone.
First, I always check with my bank to see if there’s any truth to that. Second, there was nothing to indicate this information had become compromised whatsoever. Then I went on my Amazon account to check under my orders. Surprise, surprise, nothing was there. Scammers are getting more creative. It’s up to us to make sure that we do everything in our power to keep them from obtaining our information.
One thing we all have to remember is that scams do exist. We have folks from all walks of life which we deal with regularly. It’s over the phone, sometimes by mail, email, in person, or even on a social networking site. Anywhere you encounter folks, you need to remember that every possibility of being approached by people has the potential to be a scam. The best rule of thumb I can give you is if it looks too good to be true, chances are it is.
You also want to know who you’re dealing with in your life. Look, if you just recently met somebody online or you just recently met somebody in person, you have no clue as oh clue as to their legitimacy. If it’s somebody you’re looking at getting more involved with, you may want to do some research, whether it’s business or personal. Asking questions is a great way to start, but there may be more to it than meets the eye if that person is elusive.
Never open suspicious text pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails. You need to delete those. There are so many emails and links that are out there that aren’t phishing. What you need to do is to make sure you are in control of whatever you click. Years ago, I got sent an email from what I thought was PayPal. It looked like they said that my card information was compromised, and at the time, because they had done such an excellent job of masking it, I clicked on the link and gave them the information like a dumb dumb. That was on me, but I managed to call the bank once I realized what was happening. They, in turn, sent me a new card, closed out that account, and told me to make sure from that point on that I double-checked where the email came from initially.
When I started working for other telemarketing jobs, I learned that many scammers were trying to come through like a business to potential customers. I learned to only respond to emails that came from the company, not a third party. That information has served me well, and I’ve been able to educate others about that as well too.
Never respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access; instead, hang up. One of the most common ones right now is supposedly Microsoft telling you that there is a problem with your computer. Do not fall for this. Every time I get one of those calls, they tell me they call about windows support. When I dare to ask them some questions, they can’t answer. I’ve asked them what kind of computer I’m using, the IP address, and which account this involves? The agents trip over their words every single time.
Keep your mobile devices and computers secure. Always use password protection, never share your access with others, including remotely. Don’t forget to update your security software backup context. Most importantly, clean your cash and cookies every day. This action makes it much more difficult for companies to spy on you. If you’re taking the tracking mechanisms off, they have less chance to see your daily activity.
Choose your passwords carefully because many people choose passwords that are easy to remember, which is understandable. The problem with that is is that they’re also easy to guess. Scammers love the ability to guess passwords, so if you’re using your pet name, your child’s name, your significant other’s name, or anything pertinent along those lines, scammers will figure it out. When I worked for Amazon, they wouldn’t let us write down our passwords. It was for our protection, but it always made it hard for me to remember my password. I like to have that content stored in what I like to call my brain. That’s a little book that I keep my passwords written down on and I keep secure. I never keep that book in the same place because I never know who will go looking for it. I try hard to think before I do anything.
Review your privacy and security settings on social media. Listen, it’s this simple. If you use social networking sites like Facebook, be careful who you’re connecting with, and learn how to use those privacy and security settings to ensure you stay safe. If you even think that there’s suspicious behavior going on, or that you might have clicked on Spam, or maybe have fallen prey to a scam online, you have to take steps to secure your account, and if you think that there is a problem be sure to report it.
This next item is one of my most giant red flags. If a company group or person is asking you for an unusual payment request, stay clear. Scammers often ask you to use unique payment methods like preloaded debit cards, gift cards, virtual currency, or anything untraceable. Be smart, and don’t fall for it.
The last tip I’m going to give you is to be careful when you shop online. Retailers are highly competitive right now, and sometimes the offers might seem too good to be true. Make sure you’re using shopping services that you know and trust. The downside to virtual currencies like bitcoin is that they don’t have the same protections as other transaction methods. If you use bitcoin or any virtual currency like it, make sure you know that it is not a scam. It could cost you significantly in the long run.
There are many other tips out there, and I hope that this gives you a good starting point, but more than anything, I hope that you don’t find yourself falling into this category. After what happened this weekend with my mom and with myself, I am more convinced than ever that scammers are trying to get their hands on every money-making method that they can. All of us are working very hard for our money right now. The last thing any of us need is for someone to come in and steal it. Protect yourself, your loved one’s friends, and your family. Take the necessary steps to ensure you have fewer chances of being taken for a ride. Have a great day, everyone.