An alarming number of Americans are scammed each year. According to the United States Senate, seniors lose nearly $3 billion per year due to scams.
Many people have heard of the Nigerian prince scam. Here, a (fake) “member of the Nigerian royal family” promises to share their fortune with you.
To get your cash, you simply need to pay a small transfer fee and provide your bank account information. Next thing you know, the scammers are emptying your bank account.
The Nigerian scam is one of many common email, online, and phone scams.
Read on to learn how to tell if you’re being scammed in four easy steps.
1. Maintain Awareness
The first step in identifying scams is being aware that they exist. You should be naturally skeptical of any attempt to give you money or other amenities.
If a proposal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is especially true if the source of the offer is unexpected or unknown.
2. Exercise Caution
It is important that you exercise caution when opening e-mails or accepting phone calls from unknown sources. You should not click on hyperlinks included in e-mails from unrecognized sources. This is likely a spear-phishing attempt to hack your e-mail account and extract personal information.
In addition, you should not provide any personal information. This includes banking information, social security, and your date of birth.
3. Do Some Research
One advantage of the digital era is the amount of information available on the web. Most scams can be identified by performing a simple Google search.
Conduct a search of the company’s name and see what comes up. Also, check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the company is legitimate.
You can also perform an online search of what the company or person is offering. In many cases, you will find countless examples of victims warning you to avoid this scam.
4. Look for Warning Signs
For many scams, there are little details that are off. These are warning signs that the communication is illegitimate.
One common scam is an e-mail or phone call from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) stating that you owe back taxes. For starters, the IRS does not operate this way and would not communicate with you via phone or e-mail.
Furthermore, scammers try to make e-mails look as authentic and official as possible. Scammers may use a fake e-mail address that resembles an IRS account.
These fake accounts can be identified by subtle spelling or grammatical errors. Also, all official correspondence from a government account will come from a .gov e-mail address. Any e-mail from a .com or .org address purporting to be a government agency is likely fraudulent.
How to Tell If You’re Being Scammed: A Recap
In the digital era, scammers are everywhere and constantly seeking to acquire your personal information. The goal is to steal money from you or possibly your identity.
The best advice is to remain vigilant and protect your personal information at all costs. If you enjoyed this article about how to tell if you’re being scammed, check out our blog for more great content.