Understanding Financial Scams
In this technologically savvy world, hackers are unfortunately getting better at fooling people with their scams. Sometimes it is very difficult to tell when something is a scam, or legitimate. Common scams typically take the form of phone calls or emails, as this is the easiest way to trick somebody. Many scams have the sole purpose of trying to get money from people.
The recent pandemic has brought many more scams into play. Hackers will call someone, pretending to be from the IRS. They will ask for personal information such as your social security number, or for advance payment. They will claim that this information is needed in order to release your government stimulus payment. These are not legitimate IRS workers, and you should not release any information to them under any circumstances. There are some ways to prepare for financial scams and to ensure that you never fall victim to one.
Never send a wire payment
If you have received a request for money from a family member, think twice before you act on it. Many scams will ask you to send money overseas via a wire transfer. This is because wire payments are very difficult to trace, and it would be virtually impossible for you to get your money back. If you receive a strange request for money, try giving that person a call and making sure that it wasn’t them.
Make secure passwords
Having a simple password that is just a number combination is making it too easy for hackers to crack. If they get into your email or bank account, that will be very bad. Make your passwords stronger by adding upper case letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, try not to use the same password for everything. If you have difficulty remembering all your passwords, write them down on paper and keep it safely hidden. Or you could try an encrypted password app such as RoboForm to help you keep track of them all.
Install antivirus software
To keep your device safe from harm, it is important to invest in good antivirus software. This will prevent dangerous files from being downloaded from the internet, which would infect your device with a virus. Make sure that your software performs automatic updates and completes scans on a regular basis.
Many companies have been targeted by hackers in recent times due to employees working from home with their personal computers and therefore security being more lax than it usually is. A popular scam is that one staff member’s email address will be hacked, and then they will send a scam email out to all their contacts, usually asking people to click on a hyperlink. If someone clicks on that link, their computer and all their work files will be put at risk. If you receive an email from a colleague that seems even a little bit questionable, forward it to IT and flag it for their immediate attention. Then you should permanently delete it.