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, Advocate

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Better Business Bureau offers five resolutions for a fraud-free New Year

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  The loss of money and personal information and the perseverance of criminals continues with online purchases having the greatest risk of being a scam. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends adding a few precautionary steps to the New Year’s resolution list, along with the weight loss and financial goals, to help make the upcoming days and months fraud-free.

  • Be cautious with email. Be wary of unsolicited emails from a person or a company. Remember, scammers can make emails look like they are from a legitimate business, government agency, or reputable organization (even BBB). Never click on links or open attachments in unsolicited emails.
  • Never send money to strangers. If you haven’t met a person face-to-face, don’t send them money. This is especially true if the person asks you to transfer funds using a prepaid debit card or Cash App. Money sent to strangers in this way is untraceable, and once it is sent, there’s no getting it back. Scammers will try to trick you into panicking – so before making a move, think the situation through. Don’t fall for it!
  • Do research before making online payments and purchases. When shopping online, or if asked to make a payment online, research the retailer before entering payment information. Ask: Is this a person or business I know and trust? Do they have a working customer service number? Where is the company physically located? Would I be making payments through a secure server (https://….com)? Have I checked to see if others have complained?
  • Use your best judgment when sharing personal information. Sharing sensitive personal information with scammers opens the door to identity theft. Never share financial information, birthdate, address or Social Security/health insurance/Medicare number with an unsolicited caller.
  • Be social media smart. Make use of privacy settings on social media and only connect with people you know. Be careful about including personal information in your profile and never reveal address and other sensitive information – even in a “fun” quiz. Scammers may use this information to make themselves pass as a friend or relative and earn your trust. Also, be careful when buying products you saw on social media. BBB Scam Tracker has received thousands of complaints about misleading Facebook and Instagram ads.

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