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This week is officially National Consumer Protection Week, according to the Federal Trade Commission. But here at FindLaw's Common Law blog, we do consumer protection every day, year-round. So, we've rounded up some of our best posts on avoiding online scams and staying safe on the internet.
Here you go:
For whatever reason, the normal alarm bells that go off when you hear something that's too good to be true don't always apply to the internet. Too many of us trust what we see online to be true. So, how can you bring your real-world skepticism into the digital age? Here are some helpful hints.
Once a scammer has personal information like account numbers or your Social Security number, they may have access to all of your finances. Make sure you are careful about creating and keeping secret your passwords and be careful when storing or disposing of paperwork that lists that information. Also, it's worth monitoring your credit report and online accounts for any fraudulent activity or charges.
Facebook, for most of us, is the front door to the internet. (And, sadly, many of us don't make it past the foyer.) So keep your sharing safe, i.e., to a minimum, when on Facebook and other social media sites.
When taking your online relationships into the IRL world, make sure you understand the person you met on your computer might not be the same face-to-face. Making sure your friends know where you're going, or, better yet, bringing a friend with you, is a good start. It also helps to keep the meeting public and keep your phone on you at all times.
It never hurts to at least interview for a job, right? Maybe not. Some scammers are using fake job interviews to extract personal information, and in some cases "interview fees," cheating people who are just looking for employment.
If you think you've been the victim of an internet scam, contact an experienced consumer protection attorney as soon as possible.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.