Know the scam warning signs and red flags to watch out for
Scammers are constantly coming up with new ways to fool their victims—but most scams will typically have several elements in common.
In honor its fifth anniversary, the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) Scam Alerts is sharing its top five tips for spotting and avoiding a scam.
To ensure that you don't become the next victim of a scam, always keep the following in mind:
- 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.
- 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 the latest information on current scams that have been reported near you, visit the BBB Scam Tracker.