It’s time for an update on the latest tricks criminal use to separate you from your hard-earned money:
- First up: Disaster-relief scams. Debbie Dujanobic is a Public Affairs Specialist with the FBI. She says that emails asking for money to help victims of Japan’s earthquake and tsunami – or any other natural disaster – are aimed at your heart, but are often just attempts to steal your money, your identity, or both. You don’t just need to be careful online. According to the Better Business Bureau, crooks are likely to text, tweet and even go door-to-door to profit from the disaster. Want to help? Contact a reliable organization on your own.
- Another rip-off that’s common because of high unemployment: Unsolicited job offers. David Vladeck is the Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. He says the scams come in all shapes and sizes, but the bottom line remains the same: Companies that are on the level don’t contact anyone with job offers unless you contact them first. Legitimate companies never charge up-front fees, or ask for personal information, like your Social Security Number before putting you on the payroll.
- Finally: Beware of fake anti-virus software. According to one study, these scams are up more than 500%! It starts with a pop-up window warning that your computer is infected. If you click on the link, it’ll either download your personal information or demand a payment to register the fake product. Luckily, the answer to this one is simple: Don’t click on anything – and reboot your browser.