07 Dec The Better Business Bureau’s 10 steps to avoid scams at Christmas
BBB has released its 10 steps to avoid scams this Christmas.
The Better Business Bureau has developed steps you can take to avoid being scammed this Christmas, or anytime.
“If you can just remember these 10 things, you can avoid most scams and help protect yourself and your family,” the BBB says.
1: Never send money to someone you have never met face-to-face.
“Seriously, just don’t ever do it,” the BBB says. “And really, really don’t do it if they ask you to use wire transfer, a prepaid debit card, or a gift card (those cannot be traced and are as good as cash).”
2: Don’t click on links or open attachments in unsolicited email.
Even by doing nothing more than clicking on a link, you can inadvertently trigger malware to be downloaded on your computer. Malware is software that can do a number of things such as damage your computer and/or take personal information such as passwords without your consent.
“Be cautious even with email that looks familiar,” the BBB says. “It could be fake.”
3: Don’t believe everything you see.
This applies all the time, whether it’s online, through the mail, or in person when someone knocks at your door.
“Scammers are great at mimicking official seals, fonts, and other details,” the BBB says. “Just because a website or email looks official does not mean that it is. Even Caller ID can be faked.”
4: Don’t buy online unless the transaction is secure.
First of all, make sure the website has “https” in the website address. The extra“s” is there for a reason. HTTPS means Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure and guarantees the website has a certain level of security. You can tell whether the “secure” protocol is in effect by a small lock icon at the beginning of the address bar on the left.
But even that doesn’t mean the site is 100-per-cent secure. The site could still be shady.
The next step, the BBB recommends, is to check out the company at bbb.org.
“Read reviews about the quality of the merchandise, and make sure you are not buying cheap and/or counterfeit goods,” the BBB says.
5: Be extremely cautious when dealing with anyone you’ve met online.
“Scammers use dating websites, Craigslist, social media, and many other sites to reach potential targets,” the BBB says. “They can quickly feel like a friend or even a romantic partner, but that is part of the con to get you to trust them.”
6: Never share personally identifiable information.
The BBS recommends to never share personal data with someone who has contacted you unsolicited, whether it’s over the phone, by email, on social media, or in person at your front door.
“This includes banking and credit card information, your birthdate, and Social Security/Social Insurance numbers.”
7: Don’t be pressured to act immediately.
The BBB points out that scammers typically try to make you think something is scarce or that there is a limited-time offer.
That’s baloney. It’s just a pressure tactic to get you to act before you have time to think or discuss it with a family member, friend, or financial advisor.
“It’s never a good idea to make an important decision quickly,” the BBB says.
8: Use secure, traceable transactions.
When making payments for goods, services, taxes, and debts, use secure traceable transactions.
“Do not pay by wire transfer, prepaid money card, gift card, or other non-traditional payment method,” the BBB says. “Say no to cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics, high upfront payments, overpayments, and handshake deals without a contract.”
9: Whenever possible, work with local businesses.
The BBB recommends working with local businesses that have proper identification, licensing, and insurance. Make sure that is the case with contractors who will be coming into your home or anyone dealing with your money or sensitive information.
“Check them out at bbb.org to see what other consumers have experienced.”
10: Be cautious about what you share on social media.
One way to protect yourself on social media is to consider only connecting with people you already know.
“Be sure to use privacy settings on all social media and online accounts,” the Bureau says. “Impostors often get information about their targets from their online interactions, and can make themselves sound like a friend or family member because they know so much about you.”
Post Source: Vancouver Sun