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Online Scams to Avoid

MoneyWise

Christian talk radio with Rob West

May 13, 2021

If you ask financial advisers which emotions cause people the most trouble with their money, most will tell you it’s fear and greed. There’s even a "Fear, Greed Index" that investors use to gauge market sentiment. Unfortunately, scam artists use those emotions, too, as they try to separate you from your money. Today on MoneyWise, host Rob West talks about the latest ways they’re doing that online. With people spending so much time and money online these days, it’s no wonder that scammers are focusing their efforts there. The first scam we’ll look at is probably the most common, phishing. It continues to be highly successful for thieves. In most cases, a phishing email will indicate that you owe money or that you’re due money. You can often spot a phishing attempt by carefully reading the message. They usually have poor grammar and misspelled words. When you see that, hit the delete button. Next in the scammers’ bag of bad tricks is fake antivirus software. This happens when you’re looking at a website and you get a message indicating that your computer is infected. Usually, they’ll offer free software to clean your computer. But by downloading it, you’ll actually infect your system with a virus or malware. There’s another version of this that we could call the tech support scam. You’ll get a phone call during which scammers try to pass themselves off as tech support from your actual anti-malware provider, warning that your computer is infected. They’ll ask you to download an app that allows them to remotely take control of your computer so that they can fix the problem for you. And after they have control, they’ll actually download real viruses onto your system without you knowing it. They’ll then do a scan that coincidentally reveals those very viruses! Then they’ll require you to pay them to have the malware removed. Leave that page immediately! Use only software from reputable anti-malware companies like Norton, McAfee or Intego. The next online threat focuses on greed. Let’s call it the "fast and easy money" scam. You’ll often see these in search results. They’ll take you to fake websites offering quick money by doing almost nothing. Often, they’ll try to get you to turn over personal information similar to what you might do if you were applying for a real job, such as your Social Security number or other financial information. Never give out financial details in response to an email, ad, or search result. Finally, fake shopping sites. The Internet is loaded with them. These offer you great deals on your favorite brands at ridiculously low prices, sometimes 75% off or more. If you fall for these fake deals, the scammers will then have your credit or debit card information and can then use it themselves or sell it on the dark web. You can usually spot them if you take a careful look at the URL or web address. It will look very similar to the real online merchant but will always have a slight variation, like an extra letter, so be on the lookout. On today’s program we also answer your questions: --How can a married couple best honor God with their finances and does He really care if our money is combined? --What’s the difference between a lady bird deed and the traditional life estate deed? --Please tell me how taxation works when I’m self-employed. Remember, you can call in to ask your questions most days at (800) 525-7000 or email them to [email protected] Also, visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can connect with a MoneyWise Coach, purchase books, and even download free, helpful resources like the free MoneyWise app. Like and Follow us on Facebook at MoneyWise Media for videos and the very latest discussion! Remember that it’s your prayerful and financial support that keeps MoneyWise on the air. Help us continue this outreach by clicking the Donate tab on our website or in our app.

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