WARNING: How to Spot the Newest Social Scams

(RepublicanReport.org) – Scammers have turned social media into a virtual minefield, using increasingly clever schemes to trick hard-working, well-meaning individuals out of their money. Fake links, predatory apps, and numerous other threats make just about every phone, tablet, and computer one possible click away from becoming a tool of destruction. Staying on top of the latest tactics can help users steer clear of the danger.

Watch for Red Flags

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that individuals should scrutinize any correspondence they weren’t expecting — but also to be careful about people claiming to be from official government entities. Scammers can use technology to conceal or change the apparent source of phone calls, for example, or pretend to be taking donations for made-up charities that sound real.

Also, be on the lookout for any communications that claim to have either a prize or a serious problem attached, as both are likely nothing more than dangling carrots. Daily Mail warns that if something seems too good to be true, it’s probably not legit. Fraudsters will tell prospective victims just about anything to gain access to personal information or money, but they also tend to pressure their targets into acting quickly. Consider that another red flag, as well as requests for payment using cryptocurrency, gift cards, money wires, or bank transfers. The FTC adds that talking about a message or call can sometimes help reveal sketchy deals, so consider pausing long enough to discuss the communication with a trusted friend or family member before acting on it. Remember, legitimate companies will have no problem giving people the time to research them.

Ignore unsolicited links sent through social media or email, and always investigate questionable ones by asking around or going directly to a company’s official website. Additionally, be careful about fake brands and logos, which may appear slightly off, and social media timeline posts with links that appear to have gone viral. They may harbor malware or phishing websites.

Be Proactive

Scammers will likely always exist, so staying ahead is the only way to avoid becoming their next victim. Bypass most fraudulent texts and calls before you even see them by blocking unsolicited numbers and taking advantage of text message filters. AARP warns that some thieves will even attempt to trick people into believing they have technical issues that don’t really exist, instructing victims to call fake tech support hotlines so ignore anyone who volunteers to help fix a problem remotely. Chances are they just want access to a device, which they can then take over and use to farm off vital personal info.

Consumers who believe they’ve already been victimized can contact the FTC, which encourages reporting to help protect others against harmful and underhanded business practices.

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