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hacker breaking into a phone

Are you getting tired of all those fake robo-calls to your home phone or cell phone? They can be as simple as trying to trick you into signing up for a different home security system, or as dangerous as falsely proclaiming you owe the IRS money and they are suing you, and the caller says they will help.

What about those SPAM emails that tell you have $500,000 waiting to be transferred to your bank account, or your computer has a virus and they will fix it for a fee?

If you’re like me, you got tired of all this a long time ago. So what can you do to protect yourself, and not get taken advantage of by scammers, rip-off artists and thieves?

Follow these 6 Tips to avoid getting ripped off by scammers:

Scammer Tip #1: Always trust your gut.

If it doesn’t feel right, just hang up the phone or delete the email. If you still don’t feel right, try…

Scammer Tip #2: Do a quick online search.

Search on the company or person that’s trying to scam you. Simply enter the name of the person or company, followed by the words “rip-off” or “review” before their name in the search box. You’ll probably see lots of comments about the same scammer, and it’s likely you’ll find out what they are doing. You can always check the Better Business Bureau too. This is where a lot of people go first to report a complaint about a business or person trying to scam others.

Scammer Tip #3: Let your good judgement prevail.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Realize that no one is going to give you $500,000 for doing little to nothing, or offer to pay you 12% per month on your money, over the phone or by email.

Scammer Tip #4: Don’t believe caller ID.

Many people don’t realize this, but new technology enables scam artists to fake their caller ID status. They can make their phone call look like a trusted company or person you know. When in doubt, call your local police department to report suspicious scammer activity.

Scammer Tip #5: Beware of fake check and bank wire schemes.

Don’t deposit a check and wire the money back to the scammer if someone asks you to do so. There is no reason to deposit a check from someone you don’t know. If the check you deposited is fake you are still responsible for the money sent by wire.

Scammer Tip #6: It’s not free if you have to pay for it.

If someone calls you about a prize you won, be wary and skeptical. If you really won a prize it’s free… never pay for the prize. With legitimate contests, you are never required to buy anything or pay to enter, much less pay to claim your prize.

Scammer Tip #7: Be a prepared citizen in 2021.

In today’s world, scammers are everywhere. Your best defense is knowledge. You can get yourself up to date with the latest scams by signing up for free scam alerts at www.ftc.gov/scams