Identity Protection: How to Avoid Scams
Wrongdoers will stop at nothing to con you out of your money using a variety of ways, but there are ways you can protect yourself.
It seems scams are a dime a dozen, whether they happen online, via the phone, text messages, and even through postal mail. Wrongdoers will stop at nothing to con you out of your money using a variety of ways, but there are many ways to protect yourself.
Protect Yourself Online
Identity protection online requires diligence and best practices, but it is not impossible. Create passwords which are long, unique, and use a mix of random numbers and lower and upper case letters. The longer the password, the harder it is for a scammer to guess. Always use antivirus software and keep this up to date. It is your best defense when protecting your computer, as it will check for malicious computer programs and monitor files before they are opened. Keep your operating system up to date. When shopping online, always verify the retailer’s security certificate and that you are indeed shopping on a secure site. Be cautious of suspicious emails and offers. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Be Careful of Suspicious Phone Calls
While it may seem like an outdated method, phone calls are still a cause of scams and ripoffs. The US Treasury inspector general receives between 9,000-12,000 complaints per week. The most popular is the infamous IRS phone scam. A scammer will call you and identify himself as an IRS agent, complete with a fake name and a bogus badge number. The agent will say you owe delinquent taxes and demand immediate payment. The IRS has issued many statements about these fraudulent calls, saying that it “… does not initiate contact with taxpayers by email to request personal or financial information. This includes any type of electronic communication, such as text messages and social media channels.”
Be leery of these types of calls, as well as lottery winning calls and other sweepstakes-type calls.
Keep An Eye On Texts
The Better Business Bureau has warned of many text message scams, the most recent string of scams that appear to look like an alert from their bank. The message says you need to update your profile information and then provides a link to a website. The URL may even include the name of your bank. As a general rule, NEVER click on any link in any text message that you are not expecting. If there’s a question and you think there’s a legitimate message or notification intended for you, go directly to the official website of whatever business it is and check for any notifications there.
Don’t Forget to Check Your Postal Mail
According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, mail fraud schemes can show up in the form of fake job opportunities, mystery shopper scams, charity fraud, illegal sweepstakes, free vacation scams, and even credit card solicitations. Check for the fine print; a free vacation is seldom free!
Credit card offers may seem innocuous, but even those shouldn’t just get tossed. As with anything that might divulge your name and address, be sure to securely shred it instead of throwing it in the regular trash.
Legal Shred is proud to offer identity protection through our document destruction services, whether you’re a business or a residential customer.
Contact Legal Shred today to discuss one-time and regular routine services!