5 Money Scams To Watch Out For

With a rise in debit and credit cards, the upcoming presidential elections, scammers have developed new and should I say 'creative' ways to manipulate people into giving out information. It becomes more about keeping your guard up, and recognizing signs that point toward things not being quite above the level.

Essentially, it comes down to simply not engaging or more importantly, not sharing any personal information when something smells fishy. The Motley Fool has 5 specific scams to look out for in 2016:

1.    Credit Card Scams
You can probably surmise that credit card scams can be committed by anyone who has access to your credit card, from a restaurant waiter to someone who’s installed a virus on your computer and can remote in and watch you enter the digits. Ok, that might sound farfetched, but it’s not impossible. With the new laws requiring banks and credit card companies to issue microchip cards that will add to security, so don’t delay in activating yours when it arrives with the included instructions.

2.    Impersonators (especially charity or home improvement)
Basically, if anyone knocks on your door offering a service or asking for money, check their credentials. Well, maybe not the neighbor kid who wants to mow your lawn, but most others. If someone is going door to door, and claims that they are collecting for charity, check out the charity for which they’re collecting. Most reputable ones have websites that can accept payment if you do choose to share your hard-earned cash.

Another scam which is gaining momentum is related to home improvement - someone offers to do the job later, but cash upfront - or when moving. Movers load up furniture, or excess boxes, but then hold on to them for suspiciously higher fees. This is way it is very important to look up those company review, or getting a refferal from a friend or family member. 

3.    Email/Phishing Scams
Email scams are as prominent as ever. These types of scams are usually designed to get you to click on a link within the message, which could have various repercussions. It might lead to a form asking for seriously private info, like your social, or it may download a virus to your device.

Luckily, it’s easy to avoid these kinds of scams. Most email services have robust SPAM filters in place that catch the majority of those messages. In case one slips through, always verify that the sender email address matches who the sender claims to be (for example, if the email claims to be from PayPal, then the email address should be from paypal.com). These kinds of emails also usually have strange typos or sentence structures. When in doubt, call the company they claim to be from, or just delete.

4.    Telephone Scams
Election years always bring an uptick in telephone scams. They may claim to be a particular political party, or a bogus collections agency, or trying to get you to sign up for healthcare. The easiest way to avoid them? Don’t answer unknown numbers. If it’s important, they’ll leave a voicemail. Another way would be to ask them for a number to call back so you can do some research before disclosing information to them. 

5.    Public Wifi Scams
Anytime you log on to public wifi, like your local coffee shop, your data is vulnerable to hackers. Use a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt your data. By clicking on that link, you will be shown which settings are most important, and how to automatically change your settings to get the appropriate level of security every time you sign onto a public network.

So what do we learn from these tips? Be smart, be safe, and always verify!