Scam Alert! Avoid These 5 Vicious Scams Now So You Don’t Suffer Later

Sep 11, 2020, 2:33 PM
Scam Alert...
Photo: Adobe Stock

This article about the latest scam alert warnings is sponsored by AARP Utah.

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, scammers and hackers are out in full force this year. But the good news is you can protect yourself! Here are 5 of the latest scam alert warnings happening right now, and how you can prevent yourself from being taken advantage of!

1. Phishing is Always a Scam Alert

Scam Alert

Photo: Adobe Stock

Phishing is a favorite for scammers and hackers because it’s so easy for them to gain your information. It’s one of the most popular scams where fake emails or fake websites are used to steal your personal information. And scammers are using the pandemic to take advantage of people. Many phishing attempts lately are using keywords like “coronavirus,” “COVID-19” and “stimulus.”

This is a lot scarier than it sounds. What you need to do to protect yourself is to be wary of the emails you open, the links you click, and the websites you visit. If something looks suspicious, it probably is. Popular scams right now include anything from fake emails from the IRS (remember the IRS will never initiate contact with you via email), to fake emails from social media sites telling you to log in to fix a problem. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of an email. delete it and go visit the real website instead.

2. Fake Charities

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Fake charities are another form of scamming being used through emails and websites. Scammers love to prey on people willing to give. And one way they do that is to set up fake charities. Fake charity schemes will typically include unsolicited telephone calls, texts, and e-mails. Again, if an email call or text seems suspicious, it probably is. Even fabricated websites use names that sound like real charities to get people to send money or reveal financial information.

Just pay attention. If you would like to verify, legitimate charities will provide their employer identification number or EIN if you ask. You can also find legitimate and qualified charities with this search tool on IRS.gov too.

3. Senior Fraud

Senior Fraud - Scam Alert

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Seniors and any caretakers should be on alert for scams that go after older Americans. That’s because seniors are becoming more comfortable with evolving technologies like social media. That gives scammers another means of taking advantage though. However, when friends and family members take an interest in an older person’s online and offline activities, the likelihood of fraud diminishes.

4. Ransomware

Ransomware - Scam Alert

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Ransomware is a type of malware that can infect a victim’s computer, network, or server system. But the worst part about it is that ransomware looks for and locks critical or sensitive data encryption and does exactly what the name implies. It holds the data for ransom. In some cases, it can take over entire computer networks. If you are a victim you might not even know about the attack until they try to access their data. Or you might see a pop-up window on their computer screen demanding a ransom. Payment in virtual currency (like Bitcoin) is often demanded to unlock the data being held hostage. The best way to protect yourself is by watching out for phishing emails and bogus websites that could contain this ransomware.

5. Social Media Scams 

Social Media Scams - Scam Alert

Photo: Adobe Stock

Always be wary of social media. It’s fairly easy for scammers to impersonate your family, friends, or even co-workers by either creating fake profiles or by hacking into already existing profiles. A scammer could email a potential victim and include a link to something interesting, but that link might contain malicious software or malware. The accidentally downloaded malware will help the scammer browse your computer for personal information. Or to even use your computer to commit more crimes. Scammers can also infiltrate cellphones to go after your contacts with text messages.

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Scam Alert! Avoid These 5 Vicious Scams Now So You Don’t Suffer Later