Fraudsters are at work every day to steal your personal information and money. Even though new scams are emerging almost every day, you can always rely on the basics to stop internet fraud in its tracks.
Here are three red flags you should look out for to avoid online fraud.
1. Someone you don’t know asks you to send money.
There are many ways fraudsters could compromise your accounts if you send money digitally, especially if your online transaction isn’t secure. That’s why it’s a good rule to avoid sending money to any person you don’t personally know.
If you’re shopping on user-to-user selling websites, like Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace, do not send money to any users without seeing the product or meeting the person. Paying with cash is one of the safest options for making these purchases. If you are not using cash, keep all of your mobile payments apps up-to-date with the latest software, and use digital transaction platforms with insurance policies in case of fraud, like PayPal.
2. Someone asks you for access to your personal information.
It may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s important to remember that you should never give any access to your personal information, like your bank account number or social security number. Fraudsters make it difficult because they will often pose as an authority group, like the IRS or a software company.
But in our increasingly digital world, it’s essential to understand how the IRS or a software company would contact you. Remember: keep your personal information as safe as you would keep a key to your house or your car.
3. Someone offers you something expensive or valuable.
If an offer online seems too good to be true, it’s more likely a scam. These scams can appear in so many different ways, like cheap concert tickets to see a popular artist or pay-to-win lottery schemes. Use your common sense when you’re scrolling online, and always air on the safe side.
If you encounter something online that appears to be a scam, you should also report it to the platform you’re using or the IRS to avoid other people falling for it.
Ready to test your knowledge of spotting internet scams? Listen to the new series from the Dream, Plan, Live podcast, Fraud Noir, and see if you can spot the red flags in these online stories with Bank Midwest’s Fraud Analyst, Stacie Wolter.