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How to keep yourself safe from scams

How to recognize a scam

scam/ skam/

noun. a dishonest scheme; a fraud.

According to the FBI, Americans were hit by an unprecedented rise in cybercrime during the pandemic, with nearly 850,000 reports to the FBI and losses surpassing $6.9 billion.

It seems like every time you turn around, a new scam is making the rounds and the goal is the same—to get you to provide your personal information so they can steal your data, money, or both.

Fortunately, there are ways to protect yourself. The most obvious is not to share your personal information like your bank account number, SSN, or date of birth. Common sense right? Yes and no. Criminals are continuously developing new and sophisticated ways to capture the data they need from you. The question now is how to recognize a scam?

Scams target everyone

Scams target people of all backgrounds, ages and income levels. There’s no one group of people who are more likely to become a victim of a scam, all of us may be vulnerable at some time.

Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. Scammers are getting smarter and taking advantage of new technology, new products or services and major events to create believable stories that will convince you to give them your money or personal details. 

Learning how to recognize scammers’ tactics is the best way to avoid being scammed.  Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to tell for certain if a request is legitimate. The things to consider as signs a company or person is trustworthy are some of the same things scammers imitate.

Reduce your risk of being scammed

Remember that scammers will:

Remember that you have the right to be impolite and to be firm to keep yourself safe from scams. It’s perfectly fine to say no outright if you have a bad feeling about something. Bottom line, if you think it’s a scam, it probably is.

For more information: Read Fraud or Stickley on Security Articles, explore Mid Oregon’s Security and Fraud Center, visit the FTC’s Identity Theft Information Webpage

You can also check out the Preventing ID Theft: Information from our webinar, presented by the Digital Forensics Team at the Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office.

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