The loss of money, personal information, and perseverance of scammers continue with online purchase scams as the riskiest of scams.
“In this day and age, you can’t afford to make mistakes,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas said. “Taking preventive measures before providing personal or payment information well worth the time and effort to lower your chances of becoming a victim.”
Resolve to be cautious with email. Be wary of unsolicited emails from a person or a company. Remember, scammers can make emails look like they are from a legitimate business, government agency, or reputable organization (even BBB!). Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
Resolve never to send money to strangers. If you haven’t met a person face-to-face, don’t send them money. This is especially true if the person asks you to transfer funds using a pre-paid debit card or CashApp. Money sent to strangers in this way is untraceable, and once it is sent, there’s no getting it back. Scammers will try to trick you into panicking – so before making a move, think the situation through. Don’t fall for it!
Resolve to do research before making online payments and purchases. Research the retailer before entering payment information when shopping online, or if asked to pay online, research the retailer before entering payment information. Ask: Is this a person or business I know and trust? Do they have a working customer service number? Where is the company physically located? Would I be making payments through a secure server (https://….com)? Have I checked to see if others have complained?
Resolve to use my best judgment when sharing my personal information. Sharing sensitive personal information with scammers opens the door to identity theft. Never share financial information, birthdate, address, Social Security/Social Insurance number, or Medicare number with an unsolicited caller.
Resolve to be social media smart. Use privacy settings on social media and only connect with people you know. Be careful about including personal information in your profile, and never reveal your address and other sensitive information – even in a “fun” quiz. Scammers may use this information to make themselves pass as friends or relatives and earn your trust. Also, be careful when buying products you see on social media. BBB Scam Tracker has received thousands of complaints about misleading Facebook and Instagram ads.
For more information
To learn more about scams, go to BBB.org/ScamTips. For more about avoiding scams, check out BBB.org/AvoidScams. If you’ve been targeted by a scam, help others avoid the same problem by reporting your experience at BBB.org/ScamTracker.
About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.