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5 Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed

In today’s technology-driven world, scam artists are becoming more and more creative in their schemes to swindle money. Some scammers attempt to call homeowners and convince them they need a new security system, for example, while others masquerade as the IRS attempting to collect money. It can often be hard to tell the difference between a scam and a legitimate offer, but you can be guarded against the dangers of scams. Below are five tips to avoid getting scammed by fake calls and email spam.

Tip #1: Be skeptical.

Trust your gut. If it doesn’t feel right, hang up the phone or report the email. When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. For example, legitimate businesses are not likely to give you $500,000 for doing little to nothing, or offer to pay you 12% per month on your money. Likewise, if someone calls you to say you won a prize, do not pay for the prize. Legitimate contests do not require you to pay to claim your prize.

Tip #2: Search online.

Search the company or person that has contacted you. If you suspect a scam, search the name of the person or company, followed by the words “scam” or “review”. Additionally, you can check with the Better Business Bureau, which is where many people go to report a complaint about a business.

Tip #3: Question caller ID.

New technology enables scam artists to fake their caller ID status, thereby making their phone call appear to be a trusted company or person you know. When in doubt, call your local police department to report suspicious scammer activity.

Tip #4: Beware of bank wire schemes.

Do not deposit money for or from someone you don’t know. If someone asks you to deposit a check and wire the money back to them, realize it’s most likely a scam and do not participate. If the check you deposited is fake, you are still responsible for the money sent by wire.

Tip #5: Know what to look for.

Your best defense is knowledge. Educate yourself about what to look for and how to respond to potential scams. Learn about the latest scams by signing up for free scam alerts at www.ftc.gov/scams.

The primary motivation of scammers is the desperate need for quick money. Education is the best defense, not only against potential scams, but also against the desperate need for quick money caused by poor financial management. In other words, education prevents the need for a scam and helps victims avoid getting scammed altogether.

Find out how 101 Financial’s Workplace Wellness program provides financial education.