Northwestern Mutual: How to Identify a Scam Offer

The societal shift into the digital world that’s taken place over the last few decades means people are constantly being bombarded by, and in some instances falling victim to, scam offers. These scams come in various forms, from email spammers trying to access accounts to fake companies vying for personal information. If someone is ready to get smart about protecting themselves online, here are 4 red flags to identify a scam offer and ways to avoid them.
Illegitimate Websites 
Digital presence is everything these days. And that means many scam offers lead to a website. Several website red flags can tip someone off to a scam offer, including:
Requests for Information or Payment 
Many scam offers will encourage people to provide personal or financial information upfront. And scammers may use malicious links to get someone to click through and submit their login information or personal details. 
For example, someone may receive an email that appears to be from their legitimate life insurance company indicating a problem with an existing policy. The scammers will then link to a website requiring personal details like a social security number to verify the life insurance policy. Before entering any personal details, especially social security numbers, always check to be sure requests for information are actually coming from a trusted company. 
When paying someone online, be wary of instances where someone asks for a money order, wire transfer, or cash. These forms of payment can be virtually untraceable and very difficult to recover once sent. It’s also another red flag if an online offer requires someone to submit payment first in exchange for money. 
Deals That Are Too Good to be True 
Many scammers offer deals at price points or a value that’s often too good to be true. For example, if someone has been looking at buying a new phone for months, a scam offer may come through selling the exact type of phone they want for $20. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is, and it warrants a further review of the seller, entity, or website offering the deal. 
Spelling or Grammatical Errors 
While those pushing out scam offers are certainly getting more tech-savvy, simple spelling and grammatical errors in emails, notifications, or websites are a clear red flag. Reputable companies often have teams of people to ensure their communications are free from error. 
The Bottom Line 
Identifying scam offers is sadly becoming a part of daily life. But the ability to properly identify scams before falling victim can mean avoiding a potential financial disaster and unnecessary stress. Always check for major red flags like illegitimate websites, requests for information or payment, deals that seem too good to be true, and spelling or grammatical errors. Keeping an eye out for these will help protect anyone’s online experience.
Source: Northwestern Mutual