If you work on line and have your payments sent to PayPal and then transfer the funds to your bank there are some things you should look out for. One of the biggest scam techniques used by undesirable people is the email scam. You go to your email account only to find that your PayPal account requires that you confirm a payment or a purchase. The email may look official but check the sender links and any other links that are contained within the email. Even if everything looks official and correct you may find a link in the email that says “click below to confirm XXXX”. You should never click on a link in an email that claims that you need to confirm anything related to your account.
The best thing to do when this happens is to log in to the actual site. If the email looks like it came from PayPal then open another browser window and browse directly to the official PayPal site and log in. If there are ever any problems with your account PayPal will not email you about it, instead they will notify you internally from your account dashboard while you are logged in. Look for the “https” at the beginning of the PayPal site address. The “s” at the beginning of the link denotes that you are in a “secure” area of the site and your information has been encrypted for your safety.
The same applies for your bank account. They will notify you by phone or in a “snail” mail if you have any problems with your account. You can also log into your account and check any alerts you may have. The main thing to remember is that any official notification will not come in the form of an email that has a “confirm” link contained within the email. They may ask that you log into your account but they won’t put a link in the email that connects to your account because of security issues.
Keep a sharp eye on any email you get. Scam shops are working 24 hours a day to try to separate you from your money. A lot of times these scam shops will be located in some remote place that is out of American judicial reach and even if you were to identify a scam artist the possibility of catching them and bringing them to court in America will be slim to none. The scam artists know this and that is why they continue to operate because they know that there will be no recourse in the event that someone identifies them. The scam artists know that they are safe.
The rule of thumb here is that no matter what happens you should always log in directly to your account in a new tab or window in your browser and never click any of the links that are in an email. You will save yourself a lot of trouble, even if the email is real, by logging into your accounts directly. Scam artists have become quite educated and have templates of official looking emails from sites like PayPal and banking institutions. They can even mask a link and make it look official while clicking on it redirects the user to one of their hosted phishing sites.
Phishing is a technique that allows scammers to get private information from users without the user ever knowing about it. The user thinks they are reading an official email and may click on the links inside of the email to check if the information is correct or to verify information that the email asks for. Once they verify the information the scam artist uses the collected information to clean out accounts or to make purchases by using the victims private information.
Stay alert and always double check your transactions and balances. If you do this and use caution with email alerts you can keep your accounts and your money safe. Take the time to keep good records as well because some scam artists only take a few dollars at a time without the victim even knowing about it or missing the money until they have lost several hundred dollars. This happened to me once. I was signed up for MSN Internet service and on my monthly bank statement I had two “MSN” charges. One was for the correct amount for my service and the other was for $3.85. I contacted MSN and they said that they had nothing to do with the small charge and had no record of it. After talking to the bank I found out that a hacker group in China was billing me every month and had been billing everyone from my area bank. The charges to each account were small but overall that had been taking thousands of dollars per month from each person that had an account.
Knowledge is power so never stop learning and stay alert because they are out there and they are out to get you.