Scams, phishing for your information

 

There are an endless variety of scams developed to con good people out of their money over the phone, through computer pop-ups, and by email.  These subjects are most likely calling you from another country where they have actual call centers dedicated to ripping you off.  That's correct, it is that profitable for them.  They threaten you with the police, IRS, threatening to release personal information, and are even starting to pose as members of your very own family by pulling the information off your social media pages like Facebook.

How can you protect yourself from becoming a victim?  Let's start by understanding their tactics.  The number one tactic used in the more successful scams is developing a sense of urgency or panic with the victim.  If you are instilled with fear your ability to think rationally simply gets pushed to the side.  To combat this, follow these simple steps.

Step 1 PAUSE..  you have the ability to give yourself time to think in almost every situation in life, make sure you take it.  Some questions that will be useful to ask yourself are.  Am I being asked to provide personal or business information?  Am I being given a time limit or any type of deadline?  Do I believe something bad will happen if I don't follow the instructions that are given to me?  Does this opportunity just seem too good to be true?  

Step 2 VERIFY..  make them prove who they are claiming to be.  
Look up the phone number that called you on google.  If you type the word "scam" and the number that called in the search box you will actually find out if you're dealing with a scammer even faster.  A lot of times the number will be linked to forums on the web that tell the stories of what other people who received a call from this number have experienced.  You can even google the email address with the word "scam" and see what comes up for that as well.

Step 3 CONTACT a professional.  It doesn't have to be limited to the police, it can be your bank, accountant, lawyer, financial adviser or another person you trust to guide you in the right direction.

When all these steps are utilized you will certainly decrease your chances of being scammed.

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Jonathan Gunther