(WTNH) — These days we can do just about anything on our gadgets: play games, connect with friends, and spend money. As the internet gets more sophisticated, it’s important you stay ahead of anyone looking for your money.
We’re Stretching Your Dollar to avoid scams as we observe Safer Internet Day.
Technology is growing more sophisticated every day, which is why we need to keep up with it and avoid falling victim to scammers. In 2021, consumers lost nearly $6 billion to scammers. This week marks Safer Internet Day, and Consumer Reports has a few tips to keep you safe.
First, trust your gut.
“If you don’t trust the person who’s the person who’s sending, if you don’t recognize that that name, then there might be something up,” Octavio Blanco, finance/technology reporter for Consumer Report, said.
Think before you respond.
Read texts or emails from people you don’t know carefully, or just ignore them.
Don’t answer a phone call right away from a number you don’t know.
Let it go to voicemail. Scammers try to get you to decide immediately before you have time to think about what they’re offering.
“What they want to do is they want to–short circuit your critical thinking,” Blanco said. “They want you to not think about what’s happening and they want you to act quickly.”
Be careful about clicking on links in a text or email.
If the link is from someone you don’t recognize or if there’s any uncertainty, don’t click on a link. It could put your device’s security at risk. Hovering over a link will show the whole address, which might help you see if it’s a scam.
Look to see how they want you to pay.
“Many times they will only want to be paid via peer to peer apps like Venmo or Zelle, or they might only want to be paid with a gift card, which you can buy at your local convenience store,” Blanco said. “And if any time you hear people telling you that those are the only methods of payments that are accepted, that’s a red flag, you should not proceed.”
Remember that scammers are getting more sophisticated in their tactics. Experts said that being very cautious and skeptical about any pitch from someone you don’t know is the best defense.
Consumer Reports said if you do get scammed, report it immediately to your bank or credit card and you might have a chance to get your money back. You can also file a report with the Federal Trade Commission at F-T-C.dot.gov.