The BBB Eye - How to Avoid Online and Phone Scams

1/9/2012

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URL address barShopping can be a fun activity any time of the year. But there can be dangers associated with shopping. We are looking at how to be safe and smart when shopping.

Katie Carrol of your BBB visits with Sergeant Bill Dehart from the Colorado Springs Police Department to learn how to avoid common Internet and phone scams.





Shopping on the Internet is convenient and there are a lot of good people conducting business and there are some bad ones. As more and more people shop on the Internet, the probability of you having your personal information scammed has also risen. So you have to be very careful.

There are so many different types of scams and they are constantly evolving so what you are really looking for is, if it passes the sniff test. If it smells bad, it probably is. If you are not sure ask your friends.

It is like the email from the Nigerian Prince who says you are worth $1 million now you just need to give me your bank information and your social security number. These emails come from all across the globe and they always say they're going to give you free money. If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

One of the other scams that is turning up on a regular basis is that a person receives a phone call or an email from a family member who says they are in jail and you have to send them money or they can not get out of jail. This is frequently known as the grandparent scam.

These scammers are sophisticated enough that they are able to use social engineering. You place a phone call and say. “Hi, is this John?” The response will be, “Yes, this is John.” So you say, “Hey, are you in jail?” The response is, “Yes, I am in jail in England.” You say, “So you are Mary's boy?” The reply is, “Yes, Mary's boy.” Now the scammer has some details and it lends credibility to what they say.

A scammer uses leading questions so do not corroborate the information. It may seem rude, but when someone calls you on the phone and says, “Hi. Is this Mary?” do not say, “Yes it is.” Say “Who is calling?” In the past we have been taught to be polite on the phone, but in this day and age, the reality is that by being polite we can actually give away a lot of valuable information.

On the Internet, people should be looking to see if they are visiting a trusted site. Did you click a link that sent you somewhere other than where you expected to go? Was the email or link that you received to visit from a trustworthy source? Even though you might have received it from a friend, potentially they have been scammed.

Take a few moments before you put in your credit card information or your personal information to verify you are on a valid site. It is very simple to look at the address bar and type in the correct address. Sometimes you will see that you have been redirected somewhere else which is a bad sign. When you type in an address it should take you to the page you're looking for.


The BBB Eye airs on PPLD-TV, Channel 17 on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., and then again on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m.

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