Spot the scam, stop the scammers

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), people reported
$1.9 billion lost to scams in 2019. Every minute, more than $3,600
disappeared from wallets and bank accounts in response to made-up
stories of urgently overdue tax payments, bogus contest winnings,
or a smooth-talking online suitor who suddenly needs some gift
cards. A high-pressure phone call or exciting message can overcome
many people’s judgment, especially if they are caught at a
vulnerable moment.

As the record-high scam reports keep coming, we’re providing
support to the Cybercrime Support Network to help people identify
scams before they fall victim to them through a new program called
Scam Spotter, which
simplifies expert advice with three golden rules. Remember to refer
to these rules when you receive a suspicious phone call or message
to figure out if it’s a scam:

  • Slow it down: Are they telling you it’s urgent? Take
    your time and ask questions to avoid being rushed into a bad
    situation.
  • Spot check: Are they claiming to be from a
    specific institution? Do your own research to double check the
    details you’re getting. 
  • Stop! Don’t send: Are they asking you to go to the
    store and get gift cards? If you think a payment feels fishy, it
    probably is.

Just because COVID-19 has disrupted everyone’s life, it
doesn’t mean the scammers have taken a break. In fact, scammers
have exploited the pandemic with alarming speed, taking advantage
of fear and uncertainty. More than
$40 million in fraud losses have been reported to the FTC related
to a myriad of COVID-19 complaints
. While the stories are
new—invented stimulus packages, phoney charities, romantic
interests who now have an uncle in the ICU—the same three golden
rules apply equally well:

Scam Free Golden Rules.jpg

While people ages 25-40 are most likely to be scammed, research
shows it’s seniors who stand to lose the most, with their median
losses more than double the average. As one of the architects of
the Internet and an executive sponsor of the “Greyglers,†an
internal group that promotes awareness of age diversity and issues
related to age, I feel obligated to try to help my fellow Americans
stay safe.  It will take a cross-generational effort. Please
consider sharing ScamSpotter.org the next time you
talk to the seniors in your life. Maybe you can both take the quiz
and compare your scores, too.

Scammer Quiz Device.png

If we learn how to spot the bad actors, we can spend our time
focusing on those moments that matter. And to the seniors out
there, remember: of course the Internet is for us, we invented
it!

Source: FS – Social Media Blogs 2
Spot the scam, stop the scammers