You just received an anonymous call claiming you’ve won the lottery. This anonymous caller gives you his name and the company he works for. He later tells you your personal information like your name and date of birth just to make sure he’s speaking with the right person, you. You immediately confirm your identity, hoping for what…? He then proceeds by letting you fill out a form online that requires your financial information like credit card number and some other point of sale. Wait a second…! From the look of things, it seems you’re about to be scammed, and here’s how to avoid it.
Related media: 8 New Scams You Should Warn Your Family About
#1. Avoid Anonymous Calls Or Texts
First of all, let’s learn about how scammers operate. They often pretend to be contacting you on behalf of the government, a corporation, bank, and even act like a top official — such as any well known company you often do business with. In such cases, whoever is running such scam probably knows who you are already, and wants to test your weakness. They might even claim to be working with a charity organization, and would ask you to assist them in a fundraiser. Know how they play and prey on you.
They use clever technologies to change their phone numbers (or even their voice) just to make them seems so legit. So avoid unwanted and anonymous calls and text messages that appear on your caller ID as if it is from said institutions. Top companies will never call you like that, and all take necessary measures to block them right away or filter unwanted text messages.
#2. Never Give Your Personal Or Financial Information
Their next step is to get your personal or financial information. They might say you’re in trouble with the government for not filing your taxes, owing an unpaid debt on your credit card. From unpaid taxes to late subscription fees to unsettled mortgages, scammers use all sorts of means to get hold of your vital information before you’re even aware its a scam. So never give out your personal or financial information in response to a request that you didn’t expect.
Legitimate corporations will never call, text, or email you for such information like Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers; and even if you work with them already, they (the corporation) already have your information. So if you get such emails or texts, its best not to respond to it, and check whether that email address is professional, and not generic.
#3. Resist Any Pressure To Act Fast
Scammers want you to act before you think about it, especially if you’re on the phone, they will tell you not to hang up before you confirm they’re not legit, and intimidate you to act fast. They will threaten to arrest, sue, or even deport you if you happen to be an immigrant. Others might claim you won money in a lottery or sweepstakes, and need to pay a fee immediately, or else you’ll lose out. Simply resist the pressure to act immediately. Legitimate corporations will give you time to make an inform decision, and anyone who pressures you is probably a scammer.
#4. Never Pay Money If Asked
If you’re being scammed, all they want is your money. Nothing else. They often insist that you pay money by sending it through a transfer service like bank wires, or even pay on a gift card then send them the number on the back. Others will even send you a cheque (which will turn out to be fake), tell you to make a deposit, and then send them money back, if they claim you won a lottery. Simply know how scammers ask you to pay. Never pay money to someone who insists you pay with a gift card, or using a money transfer service.
#5. Talk To Someone You Trust
Last but not least, take some time and ask for help. Talk to someone you trust before you do anything stupid. This could be a family member, friend, close neighbor, or even an official. Tell them exactly what happened. Talking about it could make you realize you’re being scammed. And finally, if you suspect that you’ve been scammed, or know someone being scammed, report it to the Federal Trade Commission as soon as possible.
Let us know if you’ve ever been scammed.
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Written by: Nana Kwadwo, Thu, Oct 21, 2021.