Protect Yourself From Scams
Use these tips to significantly reduce your risk of identity theft and fraud while keeping your accounts and personal information secure online.
Scamming is a National Crisis —
But There Are Ways to Keep Your Data Safe!
If you have ever been scammed, you're not alone. Scamming is at an all-time high and continuing to increase. In 2022 alone, US citizens lost $8.8 billion1 to scammers.
Luckily, there are ways you can spot and avoid scams. Here are 5 effective strategies to safeguard yourself from scammers and minimize the risk of falling victim to their deceptive tactics.
- Protect Your Personal Information
Scammers often seek out your date of birth, social security number, bank accounts or passwords so they can steal your identity or money. Safeguard this information by creating strong and unique passwords, setting up two-factor authentication (2FA), being cautious with personal details and keeping your privacy settings up to date.
Complex passwords for your online banking, shopping, bills and other accounts make it more difficult for a scammer to access your information. It’s best to combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and consider using a password manager to securely store your login credentials. 2FA adds an extra layer of security beyond your password, so you should opt into this whenever possible. This requires an additional verification step, such as a text message or authentication app, to access your accounts.
Avoid sharing sensitive information such as your Social Security number, bank account details or passwords, through email, social media or phone calls unless you can trust the recipient.
Social media platforms and other websites that store personal information regularly adjust their privacy settings, so review and update your settings, including who can view your profile, how your data is shared and ad preferences, for optimal security. It is also helpful to limit the visibility of your personal information, such as your date of birth and location, to trusted individuals, and avoid sharing too much publicly.
- Beware of Phishing Attempts
Phishing2 is a common scamming technique where scammers pose as legitimate organizations like your bank or insurers to trick you into revealing personal information or downloading potentially dangerous software. This has only gotten more advanced and convincing with the increased availability of artificial intelligence (AI), where scammers can even hack voices and send distressing messages3 to loved ones. Protect yourself from phishing attempts with a few simple precautions, including verification and avoiding unexpected email attachments and links.
When you receive unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls asking for personal information or urging immediate action, use caution. Don’t act on any message if you're suspicious of the content, even if it looks like it's from someone you know. If it appears to be from a loved one, call the person and verify the story. Make sure the sender is who they say they are.
You can also check the security of a website by ensuring the URL begins with “https://” and that there is a padlock symbol in the address bar, indicating a secure connection that protects your data. This is especially important before entering personal information.
You should avoid clicking on suspicious email attachments or links, especially if they are unexpected or come from unknown senders. Hover over links to preview the URL before clicking and be wary of shortened URLs.
- Be Vigilant and Educate Yourself
The first line of defense against scammers is vigilance and awareness. Stay informed about the latest scams and the techniques employed by fraudsters. Read news articles and security alerts on a regular basis to stay updated. Familiarize yourself with common scam scenarios4, such as imposters, fraudulent online shopping, fake lottery winnings and fake job opportunities. By understanding the tactics used by scammers, you can identify red flags and take action to protect yourself.
- Stay Updated and Secure
Maintaining up-to-date software and security measures is vital to protect against weaknesses that scammers exploit. Do this by keeping your software up to date, installing antivirus software and securing your Wi-Fi network.
Reputable antivirus software adds protection and peace of mind. Keep it updated to detect and eliminate malware from your devices and perform regular scans to identify potential threats.
Ensure your home Wi-Fi network is secure with a strong, unique password and encryption. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for sensitive transactions, as they may be more vulnerable.
- Trust Your Instincts and Seek Help
If something seems too good to be true or feels suspicious, trust your instincts and proceed with caution. If you suspect you have encountered a scam, report it to the authorities, such as your local police department or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This helps them track down scammers and prevent future occurrences of fraud.
It’s important to not feel embarrassed when you are the victim of a scam—scammers are often sophisticated and can fool anyone. By staying informed, safeguarding your personal information and being cautious with online interactions, you can help reduce this risk.
Remember, your safety and privacy are paramount, so always prioritize protecting yourself in the digital world. Through T-Mobile’s Network, Assurance Wireless offers free scam protection to help give you peace of mind. Trust us to help you stay connected and protected—get started with Assurance Wireless today.