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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Avoiding Scams and Scammers (including Facebook)

Many of you would be surprised and ashamed of how many Filipinos try to scam PhilippineOne, here on FB and on the website. In the last 8 years, it has been steady at 3-4 per week. Then of course there are the losers who hijack posts with advertisements for African with doctors. Here are ten effective ways to avoid falling victim to scammers, along with examples for each. Facebook follows:

  1. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on the latest scams and common tactics used by scammers. For instance, being aware of phishing emails pretending to be from legitimate organizations asking for personal information can help you avoid falling into such traps.
  1. Verify Identities: Always verify the identity of anyone requesting personal or financial information. If someone claims to be from a company or organization, independently verify their identity by contacting the company directly using official contact information.
  1. Use Secure Websites: When making online purchases or entering sensitive information, ensure the website is secure. Look for HTTPS in the URL and a padlock icon in the address bar, indicating a secure connection.
  1. Beware of Urgency: Be cautious of anyone pressuring you to act quickly or urgently, especially when it involves sending money or providing personal information. Scammers often use urgency to prevent victims from thinking rationally.
  1. Trust Your Instincts: If something feels off or too good to be true, trust your instincts and proceed with caution. For example, if you receive an unsolicited offer promising large sums of money for minimal effort, it’s likely a scam.
  1. Don’t Click Suspicious Links: Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails, texts, or social media messages, as they may lead to phishing websites or malware downloads. Verify the legitimacy of the sender before interacting with any links.
  1. Secure Personal Information: Avoid sharing sensitive information such as social security numbers, passwords, or financial details over the phone, email, or social media unless you initiated the communication and trust the recipient.
  1. Be Skeptical of Unsolicited Contacts: Be wary of unsolicited communication, whether it’s phone calls, emails, or messages from unknown individuals claiming to offer prizes, services, or assistance. Scammers often use these methods to initiate contact with potential victims.
  1. Educate Yourself: Take advantage of resources provided by reputable organizations and government agencies to educate yourself about common scams and how to protect against them. Knowledge is one of the best defenses against scams.
  1. Report Suspicious Activity: If you encounter a potential scam or suspicious activity, report it to the appropriate authorities, such as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in the United States, (Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the Philippines) or similar consumer protection agencies in your country. Reporting scams helps prevent others from becoming victims.

By following these strategies and staying vigilant, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling prey to scammers and protect yourself from financial loss and identity theft.

ON FACEBOOK:

  1. Verify Friend Requests and Messages: Be cautious when accepting friend requests or messages from unfamiliar accounts. Scammers often create fake profiles to impersonate real people or organizations. For example, if you receive a friend request from someone claiming to be a mutual friend but have no mutual connections, it could be a scam.
  1. Avoid Clicking on Suspicious Links: Refrain from clicking on links in posts, messages, or ads that appear suspicious or come from unknown sources. These links may lead to phishing websites, malware downloads, or fake login pages designed to steal your credentials. For instance, if you receive a message from a friend with a link promising free gifts or prizes, it’s best to verify with your friend before clicking on it.
  1. Review Privacy Settings: Regularly review and adjust your privacy settings to control who can see your posts, personal information, and friend list. Limiting your profile’s visibility reduces the likelihood of scammers accessing your information or impersonating you. For example, ensure that your profile settings restrict access to sensitive details such as your birthdate and contact information.
  1. Question Offers and Deals: Exercise caution when encountering ads, offers, or deals that seem too good to be true. Scammers often use enticing offers to lure users into sharing personal information or making purchases from fraudulent websites. If you come across an ad offering exclusive discounts on popular products, research the company and website independently to verify its legitimacy before making any transactions.
  1. Report Suspicious Activity: If you encounter suspicious accounts, posts, REQUESTS or ads on Facebook, report them to the platform’s support team. Facebook provides options to report scams, fake accounts, and misleading content, helping to protect other users from falling victim to similar schemes. For instance, if you notice a post promoting a fake charity fundraiser, report it to Facebook to prevent others from donating to the scam.

By following these guidelines and remaining vigilant while using Facebook, you can reduce the risk of falling victim to scams and protect your personal information and online security.

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