With the holiday season quickly approaching, many of us will be making a lot of purchases online. However, the advice to shop smart also requires being cautious about how and when credit card numbers and checking account information is shared, as well as stored, on websites.
According to a study on the State of Internet Scams 2022 that analyzed data partially obtained from the FBI, “Seniors remain by far the most victimized group overall losing $1.68 billion last year, but the surge of Gen Z victims is alarming and speaks to the growing sophistication of scammers.” In addition “$6.9 billion was lost to online scams” last year which is almost twice as much than “$3.5 billion in 2019” before the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Money-related problems can affect our ability to care for ourselves and loved ones so use the following facts to help keep your financial information “safe.”
1) Student Loan Forgiveness: The website SocialCatfish.com advises to steer clear of “fake websites with imposter Department of Education logos that trick people into providing their bank and personal information in hopes of having their debt forgiven.”
How to Avoid: If interested in applying for or learning more about the student loan debt forgiveness program, access the U.S. Department of Education’s official portal for this program at StudentAid.gov.
2) Online Gaming: Another common scam is people receiving fake links to buy features in games they regularly play on their mobile devices. Once the link is clicked, your login information and any credit cards saved in that particular app have now been stolen
How to Avoid: If you receive a DM (direct message) that has a link, do not click on it before double-checking who sent it to you—and why.
3) “Free” Products: An “exclusive” deal or promotional opportunity is offered for low or no cost. But in reality, in order to receive the promised items, a high shipping fee will be charged or an ongoing membership fee assessed per month for up to a year.
How to Avoid: Always thoroughly vet any offers you receive via social media by doing an online search to verify a company’s website, plus read the fine print about its products and services—especially before filling out any forms and/or sharing any personal details such as bank routing info, current employer etc.
If you think you may have been scammed or contacted by a fraudulent entity, the incident can be reported to FTC, IC3, FBI and IdentityTheft.gov.
Feel free to chime in below with any other scams you have personally experienced or know to have happened recently in your region.
I wish you all the wealth of wellness this Wednesday…& everyday!
By Robin O November 16, 2022
Thank you for the sound advice! I hate that scammers keep getting more devious. A good rule of thumb is to never give your credit card number over the phone if you did not initiate the call.
By Rachel Werner November 16, 2022
This is also an excellent tip, Robin…THANK YOU for sharing it here.
By CAROL HARPER November 16, 2022
Thank you, Rachel, this is a great topic. The conversation allows people to share what’s happened to them, which n turns informs others to be aware that this does happen on a regular basis. When we get a text, a phone call, or an email requesting help, money, or personal information- no matter who they say they are- hang up, and either ignore it or contact the person or company directly. The more we know, the better we are informed.
By Rachel Werner November 16, 2022
Appreciate the positive feedback, Carol. And I agree that it is always good to verify who and where such requests are coming from before taking any action, responding etc.
By Wanda Jewett November 16, 2022
Thank you, Rachel, for that good information. I’m 75 years old and between phone calls and the computer I’m sure I’m invited to be scammed every day! So sad that people are taken advantage of. We try to be really careful and even then I wonder if we won’t get fooled one day.
By Rachel Werner November 18, 2022
I think the potential is there for adults of all ages to be potential targets for scams nowadays, Wanda. Glad to know you found this post to be useful too!
By Joanie Moody November 18, 2022
Thank you Rachel for the article. I have a friend who has gotten caught up in several interrelated scams. It started as a romance scam. She believes that a military man on an obviously fake Facebook page, was so smitten with her beauty and wonderful personality, that he (or maybe even a she) has been continuing this fake relationship with her for over a year. Meanwhile she has given him personal bank information, and has gotten duped into a gift card scam, and a banking scam. She still believes this person is in love with her, and that they are engaged, even though she has never had a live conversation with him.
By Rachel Werner November 21, 2022
Posting about this here may end being very helpful to some else, Joanie. These type of scammers not only take advantage of people financially, but scenarios like this can often leave the person who was conned emotionally devastated when the truth is finally revealed. Also just as an FYI, if your friend is still communicating with this particular person/account on FB, you can report the fake handle as well. (Even if they’ve never contacted you.) And if other mutual friends know about this situation, they can file reports about it too. In fact, the more people who do, the better chance there is of this account being removed from the platform and/or another form of investigation being launched.