Online fraud happens every day to thousands of people around the world. Can you spot the signs of a fraudster knocking on your virtual door? Here are five ways to assess an offer you may feel uncertain about:
1. Slow down A common theme in many fraud attempts is a sense of artificial urgency created by the fraudster to prevent you from thinking things through. When presented with an enticing offer, please stop and think about it.
2. Is it “too good to be true”? Listen to your instincts. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For example, if the offer is limited or only available “now,’” then chances are it’s not a real offer.
3. Question Everything Do you know the person who contacted you? Is their request unsolicited? What are the risks? More importantly, would you trust them to watch your wallet, purse, or phone?
4. Get a Second Opinion If asked to do something that makes you feel uneasy — such as wiring money or sending bitcoin — talk to a trusted friend, colleague, or someone at your credit union. Do they think it’s a good idea?
5. No Such Thing as a Free Lunch Many scams play on the appeal of quick, easy money. Don’t let that distract you from making a reasonable, informed, cautious decision. If someone sends you money and then says you need to send some of it back to them, for any reason, it’s a scam. The money they sent you is fake; the money you’ll send back them is real, and it was yours.