A few simple precautions can help prevent scam artists from being successful.
What you need to know
- Scam artists pretend to be people we want to trust, like government officials, law enforcement, bank staff or even family members;
- Never give out personal information or send money in response to an unexpected contact, no matter how urgent it may seem.
- Don't trust your Caller ID - it's not who you think it is.
- Readily available technology makes it easy to create a fake name and number to display on Caller ID or as the "sender" of a text message.
- If you are asked to send or wire money, or to buy prepaid cash cards, stop!
- A legitimate government agency or business will never ask you to wire money, buy prepaid cards, or deposit money into another person's account.
- As soon as you complete the transaction or read off the numbers from the back of the prepaid card, your money is gone. It is not possible to get that money back.
- Hang up, every time.
- Don't "press 1" to be taken off a call list; all it does is confirm that you listened to the message, which will result in more calls.
Online Safety Tips
- Before you go online, make sure you are using a secure, password protected, wi-fi connection.
- An unsecured Wi-Fi is completely unprotected. Anyone who has a device (cell phone, tablet, smart TV) within broadcast range of an open Wi-Fi can use it. Hotels generally provide unsecured Wi-Fi access for guests.
- Never check bank account or credit card information or access the app for your bank or credit card from an unsecured Wi-Fi connection.
- Install antivirus software on any device that is able to access the internet. There are many free options available.
- Keep the antivirus software up to date and do regular scans.
- Be aware of "look alike" websites. Scam artists often create look alike websites with an almost identical web address to a legitimate business or financial institution, in the hopes of tricking you into revealing your personal or financial information.
- Never click on a link in an email from someone you don't recognize.
- Shop only on reputable websites. Before entering personal or payment information, make sure the website is secured.
- Look for the "closed lock" symbol or that the website has "https:" This means the site is using encryption technology to better protect your information.
- Be careful what you download. Hackers now use so-called pirate websites to infect computers, cell phones and other devices. These websites, which provide users with access to pirated copies of movies, music, books, and other copyrighted content, are a major source of dangerous malware that is downloaded onto your device as you access the pirated material.
- Hackers can use the malware to access your bank accounts or even to activate your device's camera without your knowledge and record you and your surroundings.
- Monitor your child's online activity on all devices, including gaming systems, tablets, smart TVs and cell phones, to keep your child safe from online predators.