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Avoiding Internet Scams

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Not everything on the internet is real. Sometimes those crown princes from Nigeria are really just scammers waiting to take advantage of your kind heart. Avoiding those scams can not only save you time, but money too. That’s because when you send the money, you’re on the hook for the costs. Here are a few things to watch as you check your email, take phone calls, read the news, or simply cruise your favorite website.

Nigerian Email Scam
Yes, we know that emails claiming that you can inherit millions are a scam. But there are plenty of people who fall for this scam every year. If you are being asked to give money in order to get money, don’t do it. Take action: delete the email and forget about it.

The Perfect Boyfriend/Girlfriend
If you’re single and using a dating website, you could fall for this innocent-looking email scam. You’ll receive an email from a man or woman who appears to match your exact qualifications. The email even appears to be from the dating website. However, they live in another country and need a little money to get to the U.S. Don’t do it. It’s a trap. Take action: delete the email and forget about it.

Buyer Scam
Selling items online is easy. But sometimes it can be too easy. Watch out for scammers who want to buy whatever you are selling and pay you up to 10-times your asking price. They will say “the extra will cover shipping to my country.” They will also ask that you cash their check and send them a check for the balance (beyond what it costs to ship the item). The scammer’s check will bounce. They will then cash your check, which won’t bounce. To make it worse, they will also have your merchandise. Take action: look for a local buyer. Who needs the hassle of shipping anyway?

Your Friend/Relative is Stranded in Another Country
In this scam you receive a text or email from a friend or relative. At least it looks like it’s from them. They are asking you to send them a couple hundred bucks to cover airfare and a hotel because their wallet/purse was stolen. If you send the cash, neither you nor your friend/relative will ever see it again. Take action: Instead of sending the cash, call them. If they are in trouble you can work it out over the phone.

Fake Charity Scam
Anytime a natural disaster hits somewhere on the globe, a scam is not far behind. In this scam, you might receive a request for donations to help the victims. The scam might appear to be from the Red Cross or another agency you know and trust. But dig deeper and you’ll see that the email did not originate from that nonprofit organization. Take action: if you’re going to give to a charity, do so through the organization’s official website. Don’t click a link inside an email or text message.

If you are approached to give funds and you’re wondering whether it’s a scam, call us or stop by any branch. We’re happy to share our knowledge and help you avoid losing your hard earned money to a scam.