Think you’re above getting scammed? Think again.May 10, 2022 / My Data Removal Staff
Can you spot a scam?
When you think of a scam, you might think of an email from a Nigerian prince asking for money in exchange for a hefty return. Easy to spot and avoid falling for? Absolutely. However, scammers have become much more sophisticated in recent years and shift their tactics constantly. The average scam these days is not so easy to spot.
Mark Rober, engineer, ex-NASA employee and YouTube star, recently uploaded a video to his YouTube channel highlighting three sophisticated and cutthroat scam call centers located in Kolkata, India. In his video, he exacts revenge by pranking one of the centers and spooks them so much they temporarily shut down.
While watching these call centers suffer Rober’s wrath is entertainment at its finest, and we highly recommend watching it, his video highlights a trend that many don’t realize: people fall for scams and lose money all the time. These call centers rake in over $18 million dollars a year. And it isn’t just the elderly falling for these scams. Research done by the Better Business Bureau shows that young people (age 20-29) lose money to scammers much more often than older people (age 70-79). That might seem surprising, but it is a trend that is likely to continue.
What can you do to avoid scams?
The first thing to do is realize that nobody is invincible. If you think you are too smart to get scammed, you are right where the scammers want you. The scams that are the most frequent and successful are often the most mundane and designed to catch you off guard.
In a survey about phishing scams, 88% of people had high confidence in their knowledge of phishing, but only 5% were actually able to spot the scams. There is a large discrepancy between what people think they know about scams and actually being able to avoid scams.
Avoid scams by educating yourself.
Learn about the most common scams and well as the newest scams. When you know what to look for, you make it much harder for people to take advantage of you. The more you learn, the better you will be able to spot scams and avoid becoming a statistic. Here are some articles to get you started:
- The Federal Trade Commission has an article that discusses four ways to spot a scam.
- The New York Times discusses the most common current scams and how to spot them.
- The Better Business Bureau lists the most common scams and amount of money lost.
- r/Scams on Reddit is a great place to see what the popular scams are, let people know of a new scam, or to ask if something is a scam when you are unsure.
Avoid scams by removing your information from the internet.
Another way to protect yourself from scams is to make it difficult for people to gather information about you. A scam call center can never call you if they don’t have your phone number. You can never be scammed by a fake Amazon email if they don’t have your email address.
When you take your information off the internet, you provide a layer of protection between yourself and the scammers. Scammers get your information from people search sites and data broker sites. Our DIY Data Removal Guide explains how to remove your information from these sites on your own. On the other hand, if you'd like some help, we are happy to do all the work for you. You can learn more about our service here.
Avoid scams by not sharing your information.
In addition to taking your information off the internet, you should change the way you behave online so that you don’t continue to put your information out there for people to find. To get you started, check out our article about aliases.
Gone are the days when scams were easy to spot a mile away. If you interact online at all, you need to get in the habit of being on the defensive. When you become scam-smart, it becomes much easier to spot scams with less effort and to protect yourself. Take action today so that you don’t become the next target!