Outsmart sophisticated  phishing scams

Watch out for social media scams and protect your data.  Be alert for phishing scams.  Scammers try new methods to trick you all the time.  But if you know the signs to look for, you may avoid becoming a victim.  Phishing emails and smishing texts via SMS or social media chats are among the most common types of fraud.  Scammers may promise you some kind of benefit: a loan, a prize like a foreign lottery, a government grant, an inheritance, an opportunity to work from home, or more.

Common Scams:


Classic Scams and Pitches:

Beware of any requests for your information or money.  Don't give out personal information such as passwords, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or Social Security numbers.  Spam Text Messages and Phishing Scammers send fake text messages to trick you into giving them your personal information.  If someone calls, texts, emails, or mails you asking for your personal information -- e.g., social security number, credit card number, bank account information, passwords -- do not give it to them.

If you suspect you're dealing with a catfish, use an online reverse image search to find out if the person's photos are on anyone else's online profiles.  Scammers create fake social media accounts by the thousands every day.  Fake social media accounts are profiles that are either not associated with a real person or are created with an actual person’s personal information without their consent.  These accounts are extremely harmful.  They download your pictures from social media, create a duplicate fake account, and contact your friends on social media.  It looks like it's coming from someone you know or trust.  Once they gain your trust, they want your account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, and other confidential information that they can use to loot your checking account or run up bills on your credit cards.

The best way to deal with a scammer is to completely ignore them.  Older people are often assumed to be the main targets of financial fraudsters, but younger generations may actually be more at risk of falling victim to scams.  A good general rule of thumb for a text from someone you don't know is to just ignore it or delete it.  Don't respond to unsolicited cold calls, emails, junk mail, late-night commercials or infomercials, or social media posts that are either overly attractive or fear-inducing.  These are all common tactics scammers use to entice you to engage.

A Scam that starts with an alluring Text Message. 
Trying to scam your scammer to get "revenge" is a terrible idea.  Don't do it.  You won't fool them, and you may end up getting scammed after all.  One of the best ways to track down a scammer is by reporting them to authorities.

The Federal Trade Commission  https://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint

Office of Inspector General    https://consumer.ftc.gov

Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud


We live on such a beautiful planet, but in such an ugly world.