From the BBB – Top Five Tips for Preventing Scams

Our Top Five Tips for Preventing Scams
September 15, 2016
This month, BBB’s Scam Alerts turn five years old. What have we learned over the past half decade? A lot, it turns out. To celebrate the anniversary, we are sharing our top five tips for spotting a scam.

Scam Alert’s Top Five Tips: 

Scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to fool victims. But most scams have a few elements in common.

  • Always be wary of “too good to be true.”  If a deal is significantly better, a price lower, or an offer greater than you can find elsewhere, be cautious. Keep in mind that businesses need to turn a profit. If a company’s offer is so amazing that it’s not sustainable, it could be  a ploy.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a quick online search. An online search can go a long way in uncovering a con. Chances are that the scam has already fooled other people, and they have posted about it online. Be sure to check out BBB Scam Tracker for the latest (bbb.org/scamtracker).
  • Pay with a credit card and refuse unusual forms of payment. Protect yourself by paying with a credit card, which gives you additional protections such as the opportunity to dispute charges if the business doesn’t come through. Be wary of anyone who requests alternative forms of payment, such as wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, or gift cards.
  • Watch out for a change in routine. If an organization normally reaches you one way, be suspicious if you suddenly start receiving a different type of communication. For example, government agencies generally communicate through mail, but scammers impersonating them often call or send email.
  • Don’t believe what you see. Con artists can spoof phone numbers, email templates, websites, letterhead, and social media accounts. Just because something looks real, doesn’t mean it is. Instead of relying on your eyes, look for other warning signs.

For More Information

To find out more about scams or to report a scam, go to BBB Scam Tracker (bbb.org/scamtracker).

This Scam Alert has been sponsored by Western Union, a BBB National Partner.
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