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Common Scams and How to Spot Them
Eric McKinney

Common Scams and How to Spot Them

Common Scams and How to Spot Them

In today’s world just about everyone is online and sharing on various social media platforms. And everyday scammers are working hard to infiltrate your every move with expertise and disguise. Professional scammers are constantly getting better at their game which is why it’s so important to stay up to date with the latest fraud scams before tricksters find their way into your bank account. Here we’ll cover some of the latest scams and what you can do to avoid them.

Hot Spot Squatter

How many times have you been on the go in an airport, café, hotel, or the like, where you are offered a local Wi-Fi connection? It may be free or paid, and seems legitimate, however, it may actually be run by a nearby criminal. Once connected, a scammer may be digging through your device looking for banking, password, or credit card information. If it’s a paid hot spot, that person now has the purchase payment information that you’ve provided.

Fake Wi-Fi hot spots are the latest trend, and it can be difficult to tell the difference between a legitimate connection and a criminal one. Fraudsters only need to duplicate a legitimate web page of a Wi-Fi provider and modify it enough to gather your information on their device.

There are steps you can take to protect your information. First, make sure your device is not set up to automatically connect to outside networks. Under your Wi-Fi settings on your device, be sure that your Auto-Join Hotspot or Connect Automatically setting is set to off. Second, if you expect to travel, purchase a Visa gift card to purchase Wi-Fi access from outside sources when needed, so as to keep your bank or credit card information private. Finally, don’t do any banking or internet shopping from public hot spots unless you are certain the network is secure. Look for clues like HTTPS in the URL or check the lower right-hand corner of your browser for a small padlock icon.

Free Trial Offer Isn’t Free

Who doesn’t love getting something for free? What if you see an offer that seems too good to be true? Try the latest product or trendiest weight loss program for free – all you need to do is pay shipping and handling to get started.

What you don’t realize, buried in the fine print, are details obligating you to fees upwards of $100 per month that continue with no end. Scammers bank on the fact that most people do not read the fine print before clicking “Agree.” Furthermore, they won’t make canceling an easy process, once they have you hooked.

Always read the fine print on an offer – especially if it seems too good to be true. It probably is. If you have already been scammed by one of these offers, attempt to contact the company and cancel. Negotiate a refund if possible. If you are unsuccessful at obtaining a refund or canceling, it may be necessary to cancel the credit card you used to sign up – do that as soon as possible.

You’ve Been Infected!

Imagine you’re surfing online when a legitimate-sounding antivirus program sends you a pop-up alert that your machine has been infected with a dangerous virus. The program asks you to click on a link and run a scan to narrow in on the virus infecting your machine and asks for a fee of $50 or more to remove the malware and clean your computer. Seems like a fair price to pay to save your device. However, you should never be pressured into clicking unknown links. Such links more often than not, will install malware or malicious software on your computer and allow criminals access not only to your credit card information upon paying the fee but access to your device and any non-public information on it as well. Not only will you be down and out financially, but you may end up needing to completely wipe your computer or laptop clean and lose hundreds of files and photos in the process. If you get a pop-up message like that in the future, be sure to carefully close the pop-up without clicking on the links provided. Then run a true and legitimate antivirus software that you have downloaded onto your machine, or you may find free versions online like AVG Anti-Virus.

Scammers are constantly working to up their game and get ahead of the curve in order to gain your trust and access to your personal and financial information. It’s important to stay vigilant in your understanding and education of the online scams working around you. You can also see Eaton Community Bank’s resource page for the latest alerts and tips and stay safe online.

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