Each year, scammers employ increasingly sophisticated ways to scam you out of personal information. If you fall for their convincing charade, you may end up sharing vital data that scammers can then use to steal your hard-earned cash.
To keep your money where it belongs, check out these cybersecurity tips below. They’ll help you identify a scam and protect your data when you’re online.
Understand When it’s Appropriate to Share Info
The first step to protecting your data is understanding when it makes sense to share it.
Only those entities that have a legitimate need to see your personal information may ask for it. More still, they can only see it after you give permission at specific times.
Confused about timing? Let’s use shopping for an online installment loan to understand this distinction.
If you need to borrow cash, you may visit several online lenders’ websites to learn how payday loans work compared to installment loans. At this point, you shouldn’t have to share personal information to read about these financial products.
It’s only when you’re ready to apply for a payday or installment loan that you’ll need to share personal information.
Most lenders will ask to see your credit report to make an underwriting decision. You should also be prepared to share your banking info, your Social Security Number, and employment history if you apply for an online installment loan.
Double Check Senders
Your inbox may be a minefield of malware if you aren’t careful. Fraudsters pose a legitimate companies or friends to use your trusting nature against you. Believing they’re the genuine sender, you won’t think twice about clicking a predatory link or replying with confidential data.
Before you click anything, always check the sender for malware. While scammers may be able to steal logos and typeface, they can’t use legitimate email addresses; they’ll always have something wrong — like a slight difference in name or domain.
Consider What They’re Asking You to Do…
In a legitimate corporate newsletter, a business may send you information about their upcoming sales. An online lender may recommend you log into your installment loan profile.
A legitimate business won’t ask you to buy something by replying directly to their email. A legitimate lender will never ask you to make a payment against your installment loan by replying with your banking info.
…And How They Ask You to Do It
A scammer may copy a legitimate request only to tip you off by using threatening language. No legitimate business will ever use scare tactics to intimidate you into action.
This is important off the computer, too. If someone phones claiming to be the IRS and says you’ll go to jail if you don’t cough up the money, hang up.
Do Your Research
When in doubt, conduct an Internet search. Typing the name of a person, business, or organization into Google will dredge up any bad press they’ve managed to collect.
For good measure, tag on the words “scam” to your search query, and you’ll find results that answer whether you’re dealing with a cheat.
Scammers succeed by catching you off guard. Posing as a familiar brand, they apply pressure to force you into making rash decisions that could cost you. So, don’t let them intimidate you.
If you ever think you’re dealing with a scam, slow down. Take the time to vet them; their demands won’t hold up under scrutiny.