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Top Ten Ways to Avoid Being Scammed

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UNDATED — With thousands of new scams every year, the Better Business Bureau has put out a 10 step list to help you protect yourself and your family.

From scams involving your favorite teams, pop ups on the web, and phone calls, this list is a good baseline to help you avoid the worst of them.

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Getty Images
Getty Images

1

Don’t Send Money to Anyone You Haven’t Met

 

 

The BBB says “just don’t ever do it”. A lot of these scams focus around wire transfers, prepaid cards and gift cards. None of those can be traced.

So if your estranged cousin asks you for some visa cards or something from Western Union, ask them for a birth certificate.

 

email-go

2

Don’t Click on That Unknown Email Link

 

 

All those emails a day can add up. Don’t click on the links in them though unless you know the sender, and even those can be fake.

And I promise you, you’re not related to that Nigerian Prince.

 

Israeli Business Man Calls Prostitute, Finds Out It Is His Daughter
123rf.com

3

Your Eyes May Deceive You

 

 

These guys are professionals and the BBB says they’re very good at mimicking official seals, fonts and other details.

So just because it says it’s official, make sure to double check. The BBB says even Caller ID can be faked.

 

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

4

Don’t Buy Online Unless It’s a Secure Site

 

 

Fun fact: the ‘s‘ in https means secure. The BBB says if you don’t see that and a small ‘lock’ icon on the address bar, you should avoid buying there.

Turns out that can be faked too though, so to play it extra safe, head to the BBB’s website and read reviews on that business.

Those clothing ads you see on Facebook? Let’s avoid those.

 

Man celebrating at computer
iStockphoto

5

Be Cautious With Anyone You’ve Met Online

 

 

Scammers are infesting every website these days. Tinder, Craigslist, Twitter and many others to reach their targets.

So don’t trust that swimsuit model that says they love you and just need a credit card number to come see you.

 

Social Networking Sites May Be Monitored By Security Services
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6

Don’t Share Identifiable Information

 

 

If someone asks you for your routing and account numbers randomly, avoid telling them. The BBB says scammers will approach you on this front over the phone, on social media or email, and sometimes at your front door.

So if the girl scout starts requiring information for a credit check before selling you those cookies, be wary.

 

guyspeed.com
guyspeed.com

7

Don’t Act Immediately

 

 

Scammers usually try to make you act without thinking. The BBB says one of their most common tactics is making you think their offer is scarce or open for a limited time.

Some legit businesses use this tactic as well, but if you experience it outside of the car dealership, make sure to stay wary.

 

Cash
ThinkStock

8

Use Secure and Traceable Transactions

 

 

The BBB says to make sure you always get a receipt. Never make a transaction that can’t be traced. Stay away from non-traditional forms of payment.

So if that estranged cousin approaches you a second time asking you to pay him up-front before he mows the lawn, don’t do it.

 

American Dream Home

9

Do Business Locally Whenever Possible

 

 

Especially when dealing with contractors who are coming into your home, or anyone dealing with money or sensitive information, make sure they’re legitimate.

The BBB’s website has reviews for all of these, along with several private websites.

This is one case where that yelp review may be helpful.

 

Charley Gallay, Getty Images Entertainment
Charley Gallay, Getty Images Entertainment

10

Be Careful on Social Media

 

 

Choose what, who, where, when and why you take that selfie carefully. Also tighten up your security settings on your social sites. The BBB says good imposters can make themselves seem like family and friend.

Pro tip: if your new friend request has four first names, maybe block that one.

 

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