New Tricks, Old Scams: How to Protect Yourself

New Tricks, Old Scams: How to Protect Yourself

Scam artists are finding new ways to scare people into sending them money. In Oct 2019, the FTC released a report that stated “Consumers 60 and older report losing money to scams less often than younger adults, but when they do lose money, they report higher individual losses.” This is counter to the notion that older adults are more likely to fall victim to what are often highly effective email, phone, and online scams.

As we see the rise of Internet-connected devices (often referred to as Internet of Things (IoT)) these numbers are only going to increase. This makes security training even more imperative.

Ways to protect yourself

Scammers are reinventing the classic fear-based email scam by merging traditional threats with a victim’s previously breached data that can be often found on the Dark Web.

Others use social media outlets such as Facebook to steal private information.

This seemingly harmless quiz is nothing more than a masked attempt at trying to steal someone’s personal information. Other quizzes might ask for “the street you grew up on,” “favorite sports team,” “favorite city to visit,” “your first car,” or “your first pet.” Don’t these look like security questions for a password recovery?

What should you do?

Be smart. You are probably familiar with the old saying “if it’s too good to be true…” Email scams and website spoofing are among the most common forms of online scams. In fact, they ranked above scholarship/grant scams, as well as fake charity scams in 2017.

Tips to avoid becoming another online statistic as a victim of fraud:

  • Ignore emails that are from financial institutions, stores, or other businesses that you don’t have a relationship with. If you do, go directly to the site and log in. If that doesn’t help, contact the company directly.
  • Don’t click on links or download attachments from emails warning you that your password must be changed or that your account has been suspended. These are often phishing links or malicious files that can cause harm to your computer.
  • If you think one of your online accounts has been compromised, change your password ASAP.
  • If you don’t recognize the sender, delete the email.
  • Do not forward or reply to suspicious emails (unless directed by your IT staff), as this may spread the scam.
  • Report any scams that you might find to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/.

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