Last summer, I was a victim of a, now that I think about, classic Internet scam. I needed extra money to fix my car, quick. So I decided to put my IPad Air onto a few sites in order to get it sold. Nothing fishy, just sites like Amazon, Craigslist and Ebay. I put it up for a competitive price, so I was not surprised when I received a text saying that someone was interested in buying it. Of course, I was extremely excited and pretty desperate so I agreed to send my IPad off to a Marine officer located in Nigeria. Normally, a lot of you would think, come on, Nigeria? But let me explain. I am a nanny. And the family I had recently finished working for was a marine family, whose father was also an officer that was currently stationed in Africa. So, no, my red flags weren't raised.
I was sent a “Paypal” email stating that the money for my IPad had arrived in my account and thinking that I had already been paid, I sent my Ipad out to its new owner. A few hours later, the payment that was supposedly pending, had never reached my account. I called PayPal and asked what was the hold up only to find out that they had no record of the transaction number that I was given. And that is when my entire world stopped. Long story short, after 3 long days and a ton of calls and running from post office to post office, my IPad was finally intercepted and brought back to me. I was extremely lucky. But a lot of people, surprisingly young people, are being scammed more and more. But how?
The answer is simple. Nowadays, people are getting more and more tech-savvy. Which is a great thing–but with this, like all great innovations and technologies that often makes our lives easier, comes the bad. Take the internet, for example. It allows you to do almost everything from the comfort of your own home which saves on time and gas, but you need to be very careful. If you aren't, you can easily find yourself on the receiving end of a scam that can put viruses on your computer, steal your money, or ruin your credit. There is no need to panic, though, Millennials. By educating yourself on the most common and tell-tell signs of internet scams, the less likely you are to be a victim.
Scam Type #1: Email Phishing
Email phishing scams are the absolute worst. They can be very convincing in how they are written and by using well-known icons and logos. I have personally had quite a few close calls with email phishing scams, but there are a few things to always look for when you receive one of these deceiving emails.
- If the email's hyperlinked URL does not match what it should be going, it is definitely a scam. For example, there could be a link for Facebook. But, when you click it, it goes to twitter. You can usually check the hyperlink by scrolling over it.
- The email is asking you for personal information. An email should never ask for an account number, credit card number, password or a security question.
- If the email does not state your full name, it is most likely a scam.
Scam Type #2: Job Searches
It can be extremely difficult to spot bogus job searches. But these, too, can have a few tell-tell signs and clues that they aren't as legitimate as they may seem.
- If it is too good to be true, like an entry level job is paying big bucks and all you need to do is send them a bit of your own personal information, it is usually a scam.
- If you have to pay them to get started, you can guarantee that it is a scam.
- Be mindful of where you are job searching. Many major job boards do not usually pre-screen all of the job listings. Try to only use sites that pre-screen their listings.
- Do your research on the company and its reputation. You may be able to avoid any headaches later.
- Don't let your guard down because you need a job. Scammers often hope that people are desperate enough to fall for their shady tricks.
Scam Type #3: Financial
We often hear about the elderly being the victims of financial internet scams. But nowadays, scammers are getting better and better at what they do–getting their hands on your hard-earned money. Here are a few ways to know that you are being conned out of your cash.
- If you did not enter the lottery, that email that you just received is a scam.
- Just inherited a wad of cash from a long lost relative and all you need to do is send a bit of money to pay for legal fees? Scam.
- Know who you are dealing with. If you do not know them personally, never send them money.
- Expensive clothes or electronic for a too-good-to-be-true price? It is usually a scam, or the products have been stolen. Either way, you do not want to be mixed up in any of that.
With new technology, comes new scams. There will always be someone out there trying to get your personal information and the only way to stay safe is to stay one step ahead of them. Not only do you need to be well aware of the scams that are out there but you also need to take the necessary precautions, like installing malware protection, like Norton Security. Hopefully, this article has helped you learn a bit more about internet scams. Remember to always do your research and you should be good to go! Be safe out there, Millennials!