Online Scams: How to Avoid Sharing Your Bank Account and Your Identity

By: Melissa Warren Email
By: Melissa Warren Email

Just the simple click of a button can jeopardize your money and your identity.

When you buy something or claim a great offer online, you may be thinking about your bank account, but with scams on the rise, someone else might be thinking about it too.

Scammers are everywhere. They're online, on the phone, and police say they should be on your mind too. More and more people are complaining of scams, and sometimes it's after it's too late. You may find yourself sharing your identity, and your bank account with someone else if you're not careful.

"When I went back to the bank at three o'clock that morning, someone had taken all of my money out of my checking account," said scam victim Linda Baxter.

Baxter says that to this day, despite being cautious, she has no idea how her account number was stolen, but suspects it may have happened online. The internet is where many people fall victim to scams involving purchases.

"If it's too good to be true... it's too good to be true. So don't fall victim to that just because there's a promise of big money. More than likely, and I'd guarantee this one is a scam," Bowling Green Police Detective Tim Wilson.

Wilson says the unsecured method of payment on sites like EBay and Craigslist continues to be an issue, despite warnings on these sites.

"Most times they want it sent Western Union, which it clearly says on banners all around Craigslist, do not send money Western Union," said Detective Wilson.

Online marketplaces aren't the only sites scammers use. They target people on Facebook, asking them to claim offers, or use your information to generate fake messages from friends and claim that you are in a video that you need to watch.

"You click on the video and you've just downloaded the spyware," said Wilson

That spyware can give scammers access to your information and even destroy your hard drive. Issues with sites like these are particularly problematic for inexperienced users. For this reason, the elderly are often targets.

"Well I got rid of it, that's how I got rid of that. I felt like the more I learned about it, the more complicated it got," said Grace VanDyke, Chandler Park Assisted Living resident.

While it may seem complicated, Detective Wilson says the easiest way to prevent scams is to avoid giving out your personal information like social security numbers online.

To report scams go to http://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx.


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