10 Ways to Recognize and Avoid Online Scams and Fraud

Cybercriminals and scammers are everywhere. That is why it is important that you should know how to identify online scams and fraud to avoid them.

Targets Everyone

It is important to remind yourself that scammers can target everyone, regardless of what your income level, age, or background is. Scammers do not target any particular group of people. All of us can likely become victims of scammers at some point in our lives.
Scammers will likely succeed because it seems like they are doing real things. Sometimes it can caught you off guard when you are not anticipating it. Nowadays, scammers are becoming more clever and take advantage of huge events, new products or services and advanced technologies in creating realistic stories with the intention of convincing you to give them your personal information or some money.

Tells You There is a Prize or a Problem

Most often, they will tell you that you owe them some money or you are having some trouble with the government. Or maybe they will tell you that your computer has a virus or your family member has an emergency. Sometimes these scammers will tell you that they are having some problems with your accounts and you have to provide them with some information for verification. While there are others who will simply lie and tell you that you've won in sweepstakes or lottery and you have to make some payment so that you can get your prize.

Pretends to be Part of the Organization

Sometimes scammers pretend that they are calling you on behalf of an organization or the government. For instance, they might use authentic names such as the IRS, Social Security Administration, Medicare, or simply create a name that seems official. While others pretend that they represent an organization that you are familiar with such as a tech company, a utility company, or a charity. These scammers are very talented that they could even change the phone number and name that appears on your caller ID to make it seem that they are authentic.

Pay in a Special Way

Scammers will sometimes insist that you have to use a specific method in paying. For instance, wire the money through companies such as Western Union or MoneyGram, use cryptocurrency, or place the money on a gift card. Sometimes they will send you a bogus check and tell you to send them some money.

Using a VPN Can Protect You

A VPN can help in protecting you against scammers and hackers. You could install a free VPN for trial so that it would be impossible for them to track you down. This is because your internet traffic will be redirected to a VPN server and your private data will be encrypted.

Never Give Them Your Private Information

There are a lot of ways that you can prevent these scammers from succeeding. For instance, you should avoid providing them your personal or financial information in case they are asking for it unexpectedly. Reliable and trustworthy organizations would never text, email, or call you to ask for your credit card numbers, bank account, Social Security, or any other personal information.

In case you receive a text message or an email from a company that you are making business with and you think that this is probably authentic, it�s still not advisable to click on those links. Rather, you should contact them throught their official website or search for their actual phone number. Never use the phone number that appears on your caller ID or the number that they gave you.

Block Unknown Calls and Text Messages

If you receive some unknown or unwanted text messages and calls, then you should avoid answering their calls and immediately block them.

Limit the Information You Share on the Internet

As much as possible, it is recommended that you should limit the amount of information that you share online. Sharing your employers, favorite sports teams, birthdays, address, pet names, and other sensitive information on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. must be avoided at all times since this information could be used to scam you.

Do Not Act Immediately

As much as possible, try to resist the urge of acting immediately. Reputable companies will always give you some time to think before making some decisions. They will not rush you on acting upon on things. Those people who will pressure you on paying or providing them your personal or financial information are most probably scammers.

Ask Some Advice From People You Trust

If you are having some doubts or unsure of what to do, then you should stop for a while and try to talk to those whom you can trust. Before responding or doing anything, it is advisable that you should tell someone about it, it could be your neighbor, colleague, a family member, or a friend. Discussing this incident with someone else will probably make you realize that it�s a scam.
Identity theft comes in many forms.

A person\92s identity can be 'borrowed' for the purpose of creating fictional credit cards or a person\92s entire identity can be usurped to the point where they can have difficulty proving that they really are who they claim to be.

Up to 18% of identity theft victims take as long as four years to realize that their identity has been stolen.

There are many ways to protect your personal identity and many steps you can take to prevent your identity from being stolen:

*Never give out unnecessary personal information
*Never provide bank details or social security numbers over the Internet
*Always remain aware of who is standing behind you when you type in your personal credit codes at ATM machines and at supermarket checkout swipe machines.