A scammer typically contacts a target and strives to project an image of someone who has it all together financially and socially, claiming to be a successful entrepreneur or something similar. Or scammers may claim to be facing adversity, claiming they are widowed, down on their luck, or, like many, simply lonely. This is a strategy that has worked in the past.
Follow these tips to prevent getting scammed:
#1 Unless this person becomes an actual significant other, never give out personal information like passwords, credit card numbers or Social Security numbers.
#2 Know that bad guys lie, a lot. And they will keep up the ruse until they have what they need or until you are in a vulnerable place. Pay attention to their intentions.
#3 Get their name, address, previous address, home phone, cell phone, place of birth, birth date, where they work, license plate and if you can squeeze it out of them, and I kid you not, get their Social Security number and do a background check.
#4 Go online and Google search every bit of information about them you have acquired. You want to know as much about this person as possible. Search name, phone, email and screen name. The goal is to look for truth and lies. If you see inconsistencies, or red flags that can’t be easily explained, run really fast.
#5 Never open attachments from anyone you don’t know well. And if you can avoid it, don’t click on links they send. Scammers will think nothing of sending you a virus to infect your PC and steal your identity.