Keep Your Eyes Peeled for These Oddly Simplistic Scams

( – Even before modern technology became mainstream, scammers have been on the prowl to steal from innocent victims. Unfortunately, the online world has made their job much easier. If you think you can’t be fooled by scam artists tricking you out of your hard-earned money, think again. Here are some simplistic scams that could fool anyone.

The first involves free Wi-Fi. Almost everywhere you go — coffee shops, retail stores, the library — the internet is available for the taking. It’s a service commonly offered by businesses and hotels everywhere, but it’s also a way for scammers to access your private information. These criminals use a hotspot at these free Wi-Fi establishments in hopes that patrons will connect. Once they do, the scammers collect what they want, and the person is none the wiser. Before connecting to free Wi-Fi, verify the name with an employee or management.

Another scam online involves a phishing scam over email or text. The unsuspecting victim receives a message from someone claiming to be a long-lost family member with promises of riches — for a small fee. Or a link within the tricky email leads the victim to a convincing website designed to collect your private information to steal your identity. Avoid these scams by not clicking on links sent from unknown sources or paying anyone — supposed family or not — for an unlikely inheritance.

The last one involves the lottery or sweepstakes. The person getting scammed doesn’t remember entering any lottery but is unable to resist the thought of winning a lifetime of riches and prizes. The scammer sends a notification that someone won the lottery and, like the fake inheritance, the victim merely has to pay a fee or tax to release the cash. Only, there is no money. Remember, if you truly win a prize, there will be no fee associated with it, and taxes are paid to the IRS after receiving money — not before.

Be careful out there, don’t click on any unexpected links, guard your personal information when out and about, and if something sounds too good to be true — it usually is.

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