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Internet Scams To Look Out For

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Every year, there are new scams of which we need to be wary. Typically, these scams aren’t complicated, but often the same con is done a little differently. 

Given the way technology permeates every aspect of our lives, these new tricks can look wildly different and even innocent. Keep an eye out for these scams in 2023.

Puppy Dog Scam 

The puppy dog scam is designed to tug on your heart strings. This scam claims to have a puppy or puppies for sale, which almost certainly do not actually exist, and asks for money upfront to secure possession of the puppy. But victims of these scams will never receive the puppy and will find themselves out hundreds, sometimes even thousands of dollars.

If you are interested in getting a puppy, check with your local animal shelter or do a search for reputable breeders in your area. Avoid ads for pets on social media sites and emails from unknown sources — and never pay any money for a pet you haven’t met in person. 

QR Codes 

Due to COVID, QR codes have become especially ubiquitous these days. From restaurants to campsites, QR codes are used for all manner of transactions and sharing of information. However, not all QR codes are safe. 

According to the FBI, criminals have been using QR codes to target unsuspecting victims and steal their information by sending them to malicious sites. These QR codes are sometimes placed over legitimate QR codes or just posted as flyers on the side of the street. You may even have one sent directly to your phone, claiming that you’ve won a cash prize or a voucher of some kind. Always validate the source of these types of messages; this is when it’s important to remember the old adage, “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” If it doesn’t check out, block the number and delete the message. Do NOT click on any links or scan any QR codes you receive from them.

Weight Loss

We all want to be healthier. Sometimes, weight loss can be a part of navigating that road to a healthier lifestyle, and some cons take advantage of health and weight-loss goals by offering shortcuts to quick results. Unfortunately, there aren’t shortcuts to true results, and these too-good-to-be-true claims are just that. Many of these scams will boast quick weight loss in a matter of a week or two, luring you with free trials and unfounded guarantees, but the only thing losing weight will be your wallet. Don’t give out your card information, delete the emails and ignore the posts. 

One-Time Password (OTP) Bot

This fancy sounding scam is actually pretty straightforward. The scammers send you an automated text, email, or phone call with a recorded message saying you’ve made a purchase or maybe that there were unexpected charges made to your account. Then they will ask you to authenticate your account information to prevent these charges from happening. 

It preys on your desire to stop these scams, and so it can be difficult to avoid. However by punching in your authentication you’re actually allowing their scam to begin, not preventing it. One way to spot these scams is to pay close attention to the phone number. A common tactic is to “spoof” a number that looks familiar to you. If you see this, there’s a very good chance it’s a scam. You should hang up and verify with your bank or credit card. Call them directly and check if there are any erroneous purchases being made on your card for yourself. Whatever you do, do not send an authentication code to random incoming calls or messages. 

Scams can take many forms these days, but they’re always trying to do the same thing: gain access to your personal information, and ultimately your money. Sometimes it’s via email, sometimes it’s via a puppy. At the end of the day, the best way to avoid scams is to be aware of them. That’s why it’s important to stay abreast of the more common scams from one year to another. Remember, regardless of the scam, most will try to impact you in some emotional capacity, whether that is through cuteness or fear. They’re designed to make you feel compelled to act, even against your better judgment. If you find yourself in this situation, take a beat, analyze the situation, and verify with a trusted source. And never give out your personal information unless you can explicitly trust the source on the other end.

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