5 red flags for popular scams

(NC) It seems that there’s always a new scam we need to be worried about. By now, we’ve been exposed to so many it’s easy to think we know the warning signs. But fraudsters are always finding new ways to outsmart victims. Here are some flags to watch out for:

Social media friend requests. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know. Does their profile look empty or have posts that are very generic? Do they seem to be promising more than friendship? These are some red flags that point to a scam. Delete that request. Check your privacy settings to ensure your profile is protected.

Spelling and grammar mistakes. Be wary of emails, messages or websites that contain misspelled common words, grammar errors that make it difficult to read or expressions that are used incorrectly. Email and web addresses should also be examined closely to see if there are subtle mistakes or differences.

Money transfers. Many scams involve a request to wire money electronically using a money-transfer service. Remember that sending a transfer through these services is like sending cash — once the amount is picked up, it’s almost impossible to get your money back. The same goes for payments requesting to be made with virtual currencies or cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, or with gift or gaming cards, like an iTunes gift cards.

Deal of a lifetime. Everybody loves a great sale. But shocking offers, unbelievable discounts and unreal rates may signal that the offer isn’t quite what it seems. Ridiculously low prices usually indicate cheap products or counterfeit goods. Free offers may require that you providing provide your credit card for shipping fees. Small tactics like these can lead to big profits for scammers.

Unknown callers. You might get a call from someone claiming that you have a virus on your computer, or that you owe taxes or there has been fraudulent activity in your bank accounts. Know that legitimate organizations will almost never call you directly. Don’t take any chances. Hang up and call the organization yourself using the number from a trustworthy source, such as the phone book, their website, or even invoices and account statements.

Find more information at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/fraud.

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