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Scamming is how some people make a living — they’re highly motivated and out for your money. MSN reports four out of 10 Americans cannot adequately spot signs of fraud. Don’t be a victim of a scam and always ask yourself the following questions while online.
One of the most subtle forms of scamming works by sending you an email that looks exactly like an eBay or PayPal account. It asks you to click a link to log in, and clicking the link brings you to PayPal. You log in, and overnight, your account is hijacked. It’s because you didn’t notice the URL actually led to PayPal.com.to, not PayPal.com. Scammers can be incisively accurate about replicating sites and emails. Net Patrol notes scam sites can also be seemingly reputable sites that fall apart upon closer examination.
Scammers can simply spoof a URL by turning off the URL toolbar and replacing it with an image. This image can even be based on your browser by determining what browser you’re using. Clicking in the URL window will be enough to reveal this tactic, but many won’t even try.
If an identity thief contacts you and pretends to be a company or organization you know and trust, then you’re being set up for phishing theft. Be aware of suspicious online instant messages and emails that claim to be from online payment processors or financial institutions, according to Lifelock. Also make sure to research unusual messages from imitation social websites, IT administrators and non-profit organizations. Once you’re hooked, you’ll be directed to a website that looks legitimate and asks for information to use against you.
Popular classified websites such as Craigslist are a scamming haven. For example, Craigslist scams can involve false advertisements such as fake rental apartments. If you’re interested, always inquire, ask questions and research before handing over money or personal information.
The easiest and fastest way for a scammer to take your money is for you to willingly hand it over. A scammer will falsely offer you a way to earn or win large amounts of cash as a way to take your own money. You won’t be aware of the scheme until you’ve reimbursed the scammer with your own real dollars.
Many scams take advantage of how people don’t always think clearly under pressure. For example, a scam artist replicates a Facebook account as one of your loved ones. They contact you to tell you they urgently need money because of an emergency situation. The target panics and believes a friend or family member is in danger. Asking for money is a scamming red flag for financial fraud. Take a few minutes to think the situation through. Be smart while using Facebook, especially because of the trust inherent with the platform.