We recently had a high school senior who is writing a paper on scams visit Scam Victims United, and they asked me some really great questions, which I then asked if they would be okay with me using as topics for some blog posts. Here is one of those questions.
Is it possible for one to make themselves less likely to be targeted by a scam artist? What are some ways that this can be done?
If you are on the Internet and have an email address, you are a target, but that is why education about the different scams and the banking terms above are so important. If you know this information then you are at least better protected.
There are always ways that we can be safer. You would not leave cash on the front seat of your unlocked car, right? Well, in the same manner you should not send account or identification information via email. Never click on a link in an email in order to “update your account” because those links will often go to fake sites the scammers have made that look like the real thing. If you are worried that there really is something wrong with your account, call the business or go to their site on your own and check the information there. We have all become too trusting that if it is in a email with the right logo attached it MUST be from the company that they say they are with.
Also, Google is your friend! When in doubt, Google it and see what comes up. I know that many people have Googled things like a scammer’s phone number, or the company that they say that they work for, and that search has brought them right to a post on our message board and then saved them from becoming a victim. Google is a very powerful thing!
Another thing that some people do not know is that you should not post your email address online. There are computer systems that go out and look for these email addresses and scammers that are lurking on sites collecting them. You are opening yourself up to spam and scams doing this. Most message boards have a system where when you sign up you enter your email address, and then when you post on there if anyone wants to contact you they can go to your profile and click on the “email” button. On our site this email button appears under every post you make so it is easy to find. This is a safe way for people to get your email address.