Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details.
The Marshall Police Department says be alert and protect yourself from being scammed and offers several tips.
Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels. There’s no one group of people more likely to become a victim of a scam, everybody may be vulnerable to a scam at some time.
Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. Scammers are getting smarter and taking advantage of new technology, new products or services and major events to create believable stories that will convince you to give them your money or personal details.
Be alert to the fact that scams exist. When dealing with uninvited contacts from people or businesses, whether it’s over the phone, by mail, email, in person or on a social networking site, always consider the possibility that the approach may be a scam. Remember, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Know with whom you’re dealing. If you’ve only ever met someone online or are unsure of the legitimacy of a business, take some time to do a bit more research. Do a Google image search on photos or search the internet for others who may have had dealings with them. If a message or e-mail comes from a friend- and it seems unusual or out of character for them- contact your friend directly to check that it was really them who sent it.
Do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in e-mails – delete them. If you are unsure, verify the identity of the contact through an independent source such as a phone book or online search. Don’t use the contact details provided in the message sent to you.
Don’t respond to phone calls about your computer asking for remote access. Hang up – even if they mention a well-known company like Microsoft or Hewlett Packard. Scammers will often ask you to turn on your computer to fix a problem or install a free upgrade, which is actually a virus that will give them your passwords and personal details.
Keep your personal details secure. Put a lock on your mailbox and shred your bills and other important documents before throwing them out. Keep your passwords and pin numbers in a safe place. Be very careful about how much personal information you share on social media sites. Scammers can use your information and pictures to create a fake identity or to target you with a scam.
Keep your mobile devices and computers secure. Always use password protection; don’t share access with others (including remotely); and update security software and back up content. Protect your Wi-Fi network with a password, and avoid using public computers or Wi-Fi hotspots to access online banking or provide personal information.
Choose your passwords carefully. Choose passwords that would be difficult for others to guess and update them regularly. A strong password should include…