5 Ways to Avoid Online Fraud

As technology increases to combat fraud, criminals will work to circumvent the new measures.

They often combine new technology with old tricks to get people to send money or give out personal information. Here are a few tips that will keep you one step ahead of the crooks online and over the phone:

  1. Don’t Give Out Sensitive Information
    Scammers often pretend to be someone you trust, like a government official, a family member, a charity, or a company you do business with. Don’t send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request, whether it comes as a text, a phone call, or an email.
  2. Investigate on Your Own
    Look for the company or product name in your favorite search engine with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.” Or search for a phrase that describes your situation, like “IRS call.” You can even search for phone numbers to see if other people have reported them as scams.
  3. Caller ID Can Fool You
    Technology makes it easy for scammers to fake caller ID information, so the name and number you see aren’t always real. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back with a number you know is genuine.
  4. Don’t Pay Upfront
    Someone might ask you to pay in advance for things like debt relief, credit and loan offers, mortgage assistance, or a job. They might even say you’ve won a prize, but first you have to pay taxes or fees. If you do, they will probably take the money and disappear.
  5. No Robocalls
    If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up and report it to the FTC. These calls are illegal, and often the products are bogus. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.
    You can also sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox. If you spot a scam, report it at ftc.gov/complaint.