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3 Ways to Avoid Being an Online Scam Victim

Did you know Americans lost $10.3 billion due to online scams in 2022? And, yes, that’s “billions” with a “b.”

Being scammed and losing money is never a good thing. But in addition to losing money and some pride, you can also fall victim to identity theft that allows someone to potentially apply for mortgages, max out credit cards, and apply for benefits while posing as you. That can lead to months or years of effort trying to erase the damage and clear your name.

3 Ways to Avoid Being an Online Scam Victim

One problem is there are so many kinds of online scams, so hackers have a variety of ways to get people into their traps. If you fall for a credit repair scam, contact a consumer protection law firm to see what help might be available. Don’t let desperation lead you astray. Do your due diligence and research to avoid online scams like the plague.

While a reputable lawyer can help you dig yourself out of trouble, the adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure still rings true. You’re far better off staying out of the virtual trap than struggling to free yourself after being tricked hook, line, and sinker.

Keep reading to see three ways to avoid being an online scam victim. You’ll be glad you did.

  1. Don’t Open Emails From Unknown Senders

You can avoid many issues by being wary about the email messages you open. If you receive an email from someone you don’t know, don’t open it. Odds are, it’s not worth the risk. And if you can’t resist the urge to open the email, at least avoid clicking on links or downloading files. 

Bad actors can hide spyware, ransomware, and other nasty stuff in email messages. So, an innocent-looking link or file could wreak havoc and leave you with remorse

If you receive an email from someone you know but are wary about downloading an attachment, contact the person by phone to verify if they sent you the email.

  1. Safeguard Your Personal Information

You can avoid online scams by protecting your personal information. If you’re on a website and get prompts to input information, ensure the website is legit beforehand. You don’t want your name, address, social security number, birth date, or other identifying information to get into the wrong hands. Some ways to verify that a website is legit include looking at the URL and ensuring it starts with “https,” verifying the domain, and checking the SSL certificate.

  1. Avoid Too-Good-to-Be-True Proposals

If you get a congratulatory email about a contest you didn’t enter, that’s a red flag. A too-good-to-be-true price offer for a contest you haven’t even heard of or entered into is a sure sign you’re staring an online scam in the face. You’ll want to delete such emails or report them as spam. If your email filters work, such emails will automatically go to the spam folder.

Another too-good-to-be-true offer involves someone saying in an email that they have a big inheritance, wish to deposit the money into your account, and promise to give you a cut of that amount if you provide them with your banking information. Again, this sort of scam should be easy to spot and avoid. But some people — blinded by the desire to get rich quickly and easily — sometimes fall for it and pay for it dearly when they realize they’ve been scammed.

Get-rich-quick schemes can cost you big time. Delete such emails, and don’t give them a second thought. You’ll be glad you did since you won’t be a statistic.

When considering the billions of dollars Americans lose each year due to online scams, you can appreciate the seriousness of the problem and the importance of protecting yourself. There’s no reason for you to become another victim. So, be vigilant, trust your gut, and stay on top of cybersecurity news to lessen the odds of falling victim to online scams.

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