Let Joe Know: Know how to protect yourself and spot a scam

Few scams are brand new. Most have been around for awhile, but have evolved as technology has changed.

And the way to spot them has also changed.

Everyday, you let me know about emails, calls and texts that appear to be scams.

Here are a few recent examples:

- "This is the shipping department. We are ready to ship your security alert device that was ordered by you."
- "Your medical alert system is paid for and ready for shipment, must press #1 and it will be shipped."
- "I am calling from Windows technical support. You have a dangerous virus on your computer and I am ready to remove it."

All of them have a sense of urgency. It's something you supposedly ordered and needs to be shipped. Or it's a problem that has to be taken care of NOW.

Urgency is something scammers often used.

Another clear sign of a scam is getting something for nothing, like this one: "We are pleased to inform you that our network system shows you as the beneficiary of an unclaimed settlement."

Some people might actually get a check from these scammers. But before the money is released, you have to wire money to pay a processing fee.

Being asked to wire money or pay some upfront fee are other warning signs.

You might say you'd never fall for these scams. And hopefully you never will. But people do. I talked with a local man who fell for $24,000 worth of scams over the last couple of years.

Our seniors are still being targeted. So if you have an elderly relative or friend, keep an eye out for them.

The best way to avoid scams:

- Never give personal information to unsolicited callers or emailers.
- If you didn't buy it, enter it or need it, don't pay for it.
- Don't wire money or pay upfront.

If you're unsure, assume it's a scam, and make them prove it's not.

If you need help or need to warn others about a consumer problem or scam, let me know at joe@abc15.com or by going to my  "Let Joe Know" Facebook page.

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