How do I avoid scams?
You can avoid scams by looking for obvious signs that indicate that a website is fake or an email is phishy. Here are some signs a website is likely fake:
- Incorrect or strange URL: The address in the browser points to an unknown website that you are not familiar with. If you are trying to log into a site you frequently use but notice that something seems different, double-check the URL and go to the actual website’s web address rather than following a link.
- Asks for banking information: Be wary of an email or website that asks for sensitive information such as social security number or banking information. A real bank or serious business will not ask you for your bank account information or your card PIN number via email.
- Not a secure website: Secure websites encrypt your information to help keep your payment information safe. To find out if a site uses encryption, look for a lock symbol in the browser window. If you click on the lock symbol you can verify that a security certificate was issued to that site, making it a legitimate and trusted website. Also check that the web address starts with https:// and not with http://.
- Misspelled words or bad grammar: Fake websites or phishing emails often contain several misspellings and bad grammar. They are not concerned with having a professional staff proofread their texts as would legitimate companies.
- Low resolution images: Those who plan to steal your information don’t take the time to create a perfect website; they do it rather quickly using poor quality images and photos. Pay attention to the images.