How to Avoid Financial Scams
Financial scams are everywhere and some are easier to avoid than others. You probably realize that there’s no Nigerian prince out there actually willing to give you hundreds of thousands of dollars for comparatively little in return. And you probably wouldn’t give out your financial information to just anybody who asks for it. However, despite your best efforts to combat them, scammers are constantly coming up with crafty ways to separate you from your money. Here are some ways that you can avoid being scammed:
Be Careful What Websites You Visit When browsing or when doing personal or professional work online make sure you are careful what websites you visit. Double check to be certain you’ve typed the web address in correctly and that the website offers you protection against hacking. If a website you use has a little lock next to the address bar that means they use SSL protocol which encrypts data and keeps your information secure. In addition, if the website has ‘https’ at the start instead of just ‘http’ that also means the website is secure. Never put your financial information into a website you are unsure of.
Be Wary of Any Strange Phone Calls, Texts, or Emails Scammers often use our natural curiosity against us by offering some sort of deal or prize to lure us in and then ask for your financial information. Don’t fall into their trap and be very skeptical of any ‘too good to be true’ offers that are made to you as they probably are. If you aren’t expecting an email from someone who is asking you for private information then don’t give any out. Never click on a link in an email from a sender you don’t recognize, and double check emails that appear to be from people you do know as it might not be what it seems.
Know about Different Tax Scams There are many different scams that take advantage of taxpayers, but armed with the knowledge of what those scams are, it’ll be much easier for you to avoid the traps. Some scammers will file a tax return claiming to be you so that they can collect your tax refund, which is why it is important that you never give your social security number out freely. If someone calls you claiming to be from the IRS saying that you owe back taxes, and you must pay it now using a specified payment method, hang up on them. The IRS will never call you asking for money without having written to you first or expecting you to pay using a specific method.
Know Where Your Money Is Going When giving to charity make sure you know that it’s a real one. Some scammers will set up fake charities, particularly in the wake of natural disasters, and ask you to donate to a ‘good cause’ when really they’re just keeping the money for themselves. Use an online tool such as charitywatch.org or charitynavigator.com to check up on the charity you are about to donate to. These websites evaluate charities, their legitimacy, and their transparency to help keep donors safe.