Posts Tagged ‘scams’

Not Today Scammer

As more of life and daily task moves online it feels like scams and phishing are increasing. . . because they are! According to the U.S. Chief Information Officers Council scams and phishing attacks have been on the rise for decades by cyber criminals. As consumers, our first line of self-defense is awareness.

 As we are looking to increase our awareness online it may be helpful to start with an understanding of what a scam and phishing are.

A scam is an attempt to trick someone, usually to steal money or private information.

Thieves may use this information to cyber bully someone, create false documents such as a driver’s license, buy things with others’ money, or get a loan or a job.

Scammers online don’t have to get money from people directly. Instead, these scammers use a variety of strategies to trick people into giving out their private information. This information can be used to access their bank and credit card accounts or other personal accounts. Scammers can even recreate someone’s identity, producing false documents, such as social security cards or driver’s licenses.

An important step in preventing a scam is to avoid giving out personal information.

What kind of personal information might thieves look for?

  • Full Name
  • Date and place of birth
  • Current and previous addresses
  • Driver’s License Number
  • Passport Number
  • Account Numbers
  • Institutions where accounts are held.  
  • Passwords
  • Banking Personal Identification Number
  • Social Security Number

Thieves try and get this information from you by phishing. Phishing is when people send you phony emails, pop-up messages, social media messages, texts, calls, or links to fake websites to hook you into giving out your personal and financial information.  

The best way to avoid a phishing scam is to question any online request for personal information. It’s also good to be skeptical about posts or messages from friends online that seem out of character. That can be a warning sign that their accounts have been hacked. There are clues in these phishing messages to look for. For example, they may include:

  • Require you to verify account information.
  • Contain a Sense of Urgency, saying an account will be closed or something drastic happens if you don’t act quickly.
  • Spelling errors
  • A link in the email or attachment encourages you to use that link or attachment to verify the account.
  • Promises or messages that sound Too Good to be true.
  • A Generic Greeting, such as a friend, account holder, or customer.

You can protect yourself from scams and phishing by:

  1. Avoid opening the message in the first place.
  2. Don’t click on any links or download any attachments; they might contain viruses or spyware.
  3. Set your social media accounts to private.
  4. Don’t reply to a message or email. Instead, delete and block.
  5. Mark it as “junk” or “spam” or report it on your social network site.
  6. Take the time to know what a credible website looks like.

If you are concerned about an account you have with a company, contact their customer service directly by phone.

Written by: Alisha Barton, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Miami County.

Reviewed by:  Amanda Bohlen, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Washington County.


4 ways to differentiate a good source from a bad source. UTEP. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.utep.edu/extendeduniversity/utepconnect/blog/march-2017/4-ways-to-differentiate-a-good-source-from-a-bad-source.html#:~:text=Check%20the%20domain%20name,in%20an%20attempt%20to%20mislead.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month : Phishing attacks. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month : Phishing Attacks | CIO.GOV. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.cio.gov/2021-10-12-National-Cybersecurity-Awareness-Month-Phishing-Attacks/

What are some common types of scams? Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. (n.d.). Retrieved January 20, 2023, from https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/what-are-some-common-types-of-scams-en-2092/

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Everyone thinks the elderly are the most at risk for being scam victims.  We have young adultsstereotyped that the “less educated, less intelligent, elderly, lower income, and less financially secure” at the most at risk for a scam.  However, according to a survey by the Council of Better Business Bureaus found roughly 30 percent of those aged 25 to 34 were scam victims and only 10 percent of those age 55 and older were scammed.

One of the co-authors on the study thinks the elderly may be more savvy about scams than those under 35.  Why is that?  For one thing the elderly are usually less impulsive buyers than younger people and are less likely to purchase online, where more scams happen.

The Better Business Bureau recommends two things you can do to help yourself and others.  One is if you are a victim, report what happened and warn others.  This will help you feel empowered as you gain some control in the situation.  It will also help others.

The second thing to do is learn about the latest scams and methods villains are using to swindle people.     Knowledge of what scams and the scam methods could possibly help people froroad-sign-464653__180m being taken.

According to the Better Business Bureau the 10 Top Scams in 2015 were:

  1. Tax Scam – Someone claiming to be from the IRS calls you and says you owe back taxes.  They say you have to pay now in order not be arrested or face legal consequences.
  2. Tech Support Scam – Someone contacts you saying your computer has a security threat or a virus.  They claim they will fix it if you allow them to have control of your computer.
  3. Sweepstakes or Lottery Scam – They claim you have won a prize but you have to send money for delivery.
  4. Advance Fee Loan Scam – After completing a loan application online you are told you need to send a processing fee, security deposit or insurance to get the money (which doesn’t come).
  5. Fake Check Scam – You receive a check but it was more money than it should be. You are told to deposit it and wire the difference, but you end up with no money and sending money to them.     road-sign-464641__180 (1)
  6. Debt Collection Scam – Someone calls claiming you haven’t paid a debt and you could go to jail, if you don’t pay immediately. Crook often claims to be with the government or law enforcement.
  7. Credit Card Scam- Someone calls claiming they need to verify your account or a recent transaction. Don’t ever give them your account numbers and security codes over the phone.
  8. Home Improvement Scam – Someone offering to fix what is wrong demands payment before doing the work. You pay and then the person never does the work.
  9. Government Grant Scam – Receiving a call or letter that you have qualified for a government grant, you are asked to wire money or pay with a prepaid debit card for a “processing” or “delivery” fee.
  10. Work-From-Home Scam – Completing an online job application for an alluring job, you are told you have to pay an advance fee for materials and information. They may take your money and/or steal your identity.

Check things out carefully before you get scammed!

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension

Reviewer:  Susan Zies, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension Educator, Ohio State University Extension


Connecticut News. (2016).  New Better Business Bureau Study Reveals Widespread Misconceptions About Those Most at Risk of Getting Scammed.  Available at http://www.bbb.org/connecticut/news-events/news-releases/2016/07/new-better-business-bureau-study-reveals-widespread-misconceptions-about-those-most-at-risk-of-getting-scammed/

Eisenberg, R. (2016). Surprise! Millennials More Likely to Be Scam Victims Than Boomers:  A BBB study bursts the myth of the duped little old lady.  Available at  http://www.nextavenue.org/surprise-millennials-likely-scam-victims-boomers/

Steinberg, J. (2016).  Warning! Millennials and Gen-Zers are More Vulnerable to Scams than Senior Citizens.  Inc.  Available at http://www.inc.com/joseph-steinberg/warning-millennials-and-gen-xers-are-more-vulnerable-to-scams-than-senior-citiz.html

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