By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
No one wants to lose their hard-earned money, but criminals are constantly trying to rig the system and scam people who are innocent and vulnerable. Though you might think you are “too smart” to fall for money scams, it’s important to keep in mind that scammers are crafty…and they will try anything to get some easy cash.
Here are five of the most common money scams — and how to protect yourself:
Phishing verification scams
Emails are mostly spammy. Scammers are pros, and one of the ways they fool people is by creating official looking emails, or even letters, with familiar logos. For instance, you might get an email from PayPal asking you to confirm your account details. If it looks legit, there is no reason you would think it’s a scam. When you send them your details, the scammer then uses your information to get into your account.
If you get an email like this, the best thing to do is to contact the company and ask them if it’s legitimate. If it is, confirm your information on the phone.
Charitable donation scams
Another common trick is donation scams. People want to help each other after a natural disaster, such as a hurricane or tragic event, like a mass shooting. So, donations often come pouring in, and you might even get an email or phone call asking to donate. Before sending a check or handing over your credit card details, confirm that the charity is legit. Get the phone number, research online, and then call them back if you really want to give.
“You are a winner” scams
No, you’re not. All of us love to win a prize, and scammers know this. And, frankly, we can be greedy. So, they set up scams to capitalize on this. If you get a call that you have recently won a prize, a trip, or something else, make sure to confirm that it’s real by hanging up and calling the company. If they start asking you to confirm your driver’s license, credit card info, or Social Security number, it’s probably a scam.
IRS money scams
If you get a call from the IRS, first, you probably will freak out, and then you’ll do whatever they want. However, the IRS will never, ever call you…so if someone tells you they are calling from the IRS, it’s a scam. The caller will probably threaten fines and jail time, but remember, don’t fall for it.
Free WiFi scam
There’s no free lunch! OK, maybe there is free WiFi, but whenever you connect to it, there’s a huge chance you’ll end up paying with your identity. Hackers can easily snoop on unencrypted WiFi, therefore use Hotspot Shield VPN and protect your data and identity.
Virtual kidnapping scams
Come on, really? People fall for this? YES! If you get a call about a loved one in danger, it could very well be a scam. A son might have gotten into a car accident, or a daughter might have been kidnapped. Whatever the case, you will probably panic, but if the caller asks for money immediately, take note…it’s almost certainly a scam. First, verify that your loved one is indeed safe. Once you know for sure it’s a scam, feel free to call the police and report the incident.
To protect yourself against money scams, be vigilant and keep your guard up. And download Hotspot Shield for free today to protect both your mobile and desktop devices.