The Information Age is an ever-evolving, always-plugged-in digital age filled with endless entertainment, knowledge, and connections. You’re online for a number of different reasons at any given time, so it’s important that you’re always vigilant about spotting scams.

What do scammers do online?

Scammers work relentlessly to access your accounts and information that are vulnerable or otherwise unprotected. Accounts with weak passwords or publicly displayed personal info are all fair in the game they’re playing.

Scammers can sell your data over and over again to people or companies. Meaning, once they have access to your info one time, they have that information forever. They can take advantage of you by simply snagging your phone number, enticing you to click a link, or even just asking you for it by pretending to be a trusted source.

Where are scams most commonly found?

Anywhere and everywhere! This includes through emails, texts, phone calls, DMs on social media, and even on video games. They can also be found in pop-up windows or unsecure websites being redirected to an unknown webpage.

Who should be cautious of scams online?

Anyone that spends time online needs to be responsible for keeping their information safe and their identity secure. Since we’re all experiencing the internet in different ways, we’re going to break it down a little further.

Adults: Let’s face it, adults may be online most frequently due to work obligations and also for personal use.

  • Be weary of emails, phone calls, and texts with typos, odd phrases, or strange
  • If an email looks suspicious, check the email address of the sender
  • Delete unsolicited texts that contain links or photos
  • Report any communications that may be impersonating a person or company (ex. utility company asking directly for funds)

Elder Adults: The honest truth is that the online world isn’t always safe. Understandably, older generations may not be as “naturally savvy” with the internet (or spotting scams!) as the generations who grew up with it.

  • Be careful on sites like Facebook; don’t accept friend requests from strangers
  • Don’t enter sweepstakes or contests from pop-up windows or unsecure sites
  • Keep all personal info to yourself and never publish online anywhere
  • Avoid answering the front door if there’s an unknown visitor
  • Refrain from publicly posting when you’ll be on vacation or when your house will be empty
  • Write a list of “red flags” that you can leave with your parents/grandparents as a reminder

Children/Teens: The youngest of us have never known a world without the internet and may arguably be the most technologically savvy, but they frankly lack the experience to spot any red flags online. That’s where parents and guardians come in!

  • Be careful with online games, in-app messaging, texts from unknown senders
  • Enable parental controls on devices and websites
  • Educate your children on the risks of being online; it’s not about restriction but responsibility
  • Set any social media accounts to private; avoid geo-tagging or tagging friends

What’s the most common scam out there right now?

There are scams happening in every corner of the internet and at all times of the day. However, a very effective method as of late has been a “smishing” tactic, or a texting scam.

You may have even seen this yourself, but a person will receive a text that reads “Your package has been lost during delivery. Please click the link for more information.” Because so many of us are ordering things online, and because life is busy, we may see this text and rush to resolve the issue by clicking the link. Resist the urge! Take a moment to look at the message and the phone number to see if it is legitimate.

If you’re expecting a package delivery and get a this text, simply check the account from where you ordered (such as Amazon) to make sure your order is en route. Remember, this tactic is used as bait to distract you, cause you to panic, and to take advantage of you when you’re not thinking clearly.

What are other steps I can take to avoid scams and keep my personal information safe?

There’s a lot you can do to keep yourself and family members safe while online.

  • Avoid saving passwords in internet browsers/browser keychains
  • Avoid saving credit cards in online accounts (this is usually asked when you’re in the checkout phase of online shopping)
  • Keep your phone number, birthday, address, and email address to yourself. Don’t give it to anyone online, ever.
  • Be aware of impersonator and copycat accounts—they can and will pretend to be anyone even a friend or family member
  • If an email, text, or phone call gives you pause, heed that internal warning and delete and report it—it’s most likely a scam
  • Do some cleaning up and permanently delete any accounts you don’t use anymore
  • Update your passwords to be more secure and store them in a password locker app
  • Use 2-factor authentication as much as you possibly can

Scams aren’t going anywhere any time soon, so it’s up to you to be vigilant online and also educate your family on safe internet use. It’s way easier to be proactive from scams than reactive when something unfortunate happens!

If you’d like additional financial resources from Auburn Savings, visit any branch and a Customer Representative can assist you.
Skip to content