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6 Ways to Avoid Getting Scammed or Spoofed

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Cyber security tips from the front lines.

Most email, text and phone scams are deceptively simple – that’s why they’re effective.

Here’s a common scenario: a family member, friend, or your personal banker contacts you with a request to send them money online. Or perhaps they ask you to divulge sensitive account access information. You don’t think twice about complying because you know and trust the sender, and because the phone number or email address look legitimate.

Next thing you know, you’ve been ripped off.

What you might not realize is how easy it is for bad actors to hack a social media account and impersonate a relative in need. Or to spoof a caller ID from your best friend. Or send a text from a number you recognize.

The good news is that it’s also simple to defend against such attacks: just pick up the phone and call your relative, friend or banker before taking the bait and stepping into the trap.

Another all-too-frequent scenario: a scammer contacts you about a “refund” for a recent purchase you can’t recall making. Warning: don’t disclose personal information to receive the “refund” without double-checking with the seller.

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Safety Tips for Thwarting Hackers

Here are some pointers for spotting and avoiding imposter scams, courtesy of Wells Fargo:

  • Be wary of get-rich-quick schemes. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Avoid sending money or giving your account information to anyone you don’t know or a company you can’t verify as a legitimate. If you send money as part of a scam, you may not be able to get it back.
  • Beware of scammers impersonating a tech support company, fraud department, or government agency through a phone call or pop-up message on your computer. Do not provide your account information or access code, or give them control to your computer.
  • Be wary of an unexpected request for payment for a good, service or fee through any form of communication (email, phone call, social media, etc.) Do your research and don’t be afraid to end communication with the person making the request.
  • Don’t send money back to someone who has provided a check or overpayment for goods or services. 
  • Be suspicious if someone requests your account information or assistance with a financial transaction, such as cashing a check on their behalf or transferring money for them.

Source: Wells Fargo

If you practice in Wisconsin, Texas, Minnesota, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana or Michigan, you can stay on top of ethics and risk management news by being a member of Alta Pro Lawyers RPG. You’ll get access to free webinars, the Pro Practice Playbook, Reminger ProLink, Ask the Risk Pro and more. Here’s how to join.

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