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, prospective employers, or even family members;
- Never give out personal information (such as your address, date of birth, social security number, bank or credit card 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 (including prepaid gift cards such as iTunes, Best Buy, etc.), or deposit money into another person's account. If the supposed government agency or business sends you a check to deposit into your account first so you are "not out any money" this is a sure sign it's a scam.
- No legitimate sweepstakes or lottery will ask for money upfront, in order to receive your winnings. It doesn't matter what reason they give, if they want money (or gift cards) first, it's a scam.
- As soon as you complete the deposit/transfer 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 to the scammers that someone answers that number and that you listened to the message, which will result in more scam calls.