With all of the misinformation that can circulate, you may be wondering how to avoid hoaxes and scams. Failure to avoid hoaxes and scams can result in a loss of reputation, loss of funds, or other damages. Fortunately, you can avoid hoaxes and scams by keeping yourself from being a likely target for them and by carefully considering information you receive, such as claims or offers.
- Keep your contact information and other personal information private. To avoid being contacted with hoaxes or scams, keep your contact information private. Don't give your phone number or email address, particularly in a public forum. Keep your other personal information private as well. For example, never indicate that you are in a desperate situation or have money to burn. Keep your account numbers or personal identification numbers unavailable to others. Avoid hoaxes and scams by being unavailable and invulnerable to scammers.
- Think critically. When you receive information that is inflammatory or requires action from you, think it over before you risk your reputation or financial security. Proceed with caution and continue to keep your personal information private. Don't damage your reputation by immediately crying wolf. Continue to keep your personal information private and don't risk your financial security.
- Is the information unsolicited? Before falling victim to a hoax or scam, ask yourself why you received the particular information. Did you seek it out? Is the source a reliable one that you can verify? Could they unintentionally be spreading false information?
- Check the source, then check other sources. Before you act on what could be a hoax or scam, verify where your information is coming from. Then seek out facts from reliable sources that support the information at hand. Be aware that a deliberate scammer may urge secrecy to prevent you from checking on the information they provide. Always do your research to avoid hoaxes and scams by discovering if they have been used before, or have faulty reasoning. Discuss the information with others you trust to see what they think.
- Give it time. Some hoaxes and scams operate by creating a false sense of urgency. Avoid hoaxes and scams by taking time to think things through. Is there any reason to believe that you must act now? If someone urges your immediate action, they may be trying to cheat you of the time to verify the validity of their claim or offer. Take the time you need to consider it carefully and ask questions.
Tip: Ask questions and do your research to find out if something is true or logical. Don't be pressured into falling for a hoax or scam by a false sense of urgency, but take your time to think things through. If something doesn't make sense to you and you can't verify the information, don't act upon it and avoid hoaxes and scams.