Online scams are increasing as the holiday shopping season continues. Generally speaking, scammers will attempt to gain trust by impersonating a known contact or business, and will often create their own verification procedure that seems legitimate – like asking for personal information on a website or over the phone.
To stay safe online, Slovenian Savings & Loan encourages you to keep an eye out for these danger signs:
- Unsolicited texts or emails asking for money or a payment. Even if you recognize the person or company asking for help or payment, scrutinize details such as the originating email address or phone number, as well as the spelling and grammar of the message. Contact the person or company over the phone to check legitimacy before you act.
- Requests for money or payment by a specific method. Often, scammers will request payment via unconventional means such as gift card, money or wire transfer, or cryptocurrency – this is because these methods are difficult to track, and even harder to recover. Unlike secure transactions with a bank/credit card, or PayPal/Venmo, you have no dispute rights if you pay with one of these methods.
- A deal that’s too good to be true. There are a lot of great sales out there, but check to make sure any online vendor that’s offering an amazing deal is actually legitimate! Other scams in this general category offer a prize, an unclaimed inheritance, or a get-rich-quick investment opportunity in exchange for a fee.
- An urgent call to action. Scammers try to get you to act before you think, often by appealing to your emotions — often fear (examples: a relative needs money urgently; you’ll lose an amazing deal if you don’t act right now). Make sure the message is legitimate before you do anything that might compromise your finances or online security.
- Links to websites that spread malware or solicit personal information. Never click on a questionable link in an email or text message — your computer could become infected with malware. Other links may lead to legitimate-looking websites that ask for personal information as a log-in or verification of some kind. If the message or the link itself seems sketchy, contact the business or individual who appears to have sent it before you click.
Slovenian Savings & Loan encourages you to pay special attention to online transactions to make sure they’re not part of a scam or other illegal activity! The bottom line: if something seems off, it probably is.