As Winter bears down upon us across the country today with frigid low temperatures and snow there are some bad people out there that want to steal your money. Every day there are multiple emails and phone calls that are not legitimate and will try and persuade you to send them money. I am very diligent about my online safety and email but today I find myself caught up in one of these schemes to defraud people of there hard earned cash. It is criminal and hurts people but it is very difficult to stop. Here are some ideas and pointers to help you stay away from this sort of activity and not lose your money.

Be wary of phone and email scams!

The best way to not get scammed is to use common sense. Do not give out your personal information to strangers on the phone or on the internet. Get them to send you correspondence and details that you must check and confirm before moving forward with a purchase or transaction. Proper receipts with company name, address, phone number, webpage etc should be scrutinized and confirmed legitimate before you move forward with any personal information or transaction. Make phone calls, ask for references, confirm all details, the more you do the safer you are.

The best way to assure the deal is real is to see touch and feel the item or service that you are interested in pursuing. If you are paying by credit card make sure you get a proper receipt from the company that you verified as being real. Most credit cards come with something called an INDEMNITY clause which will help you get your money back. This clause states that if you have done everything reasonable to protect yourself and you are defrauded the credit card company will issue a full refund.

Email scams are everywhere. Many get picked off by junk filters but some smart ones make it through. DO NOT click on things you do not know. By clicking you may be running hacking software that can do considerable damage to your computer hardware, software or even record everything you do and everywhere you surf the internet along wit your account names and passwords. One click should cause irreparable damage to your computer and your accounts especially your bank account.

The common thread to all of this and how to avoid being hijacked or stolen from is to be wary and smart. If its too good to be true it probably is. If someone promises you a new car and you know you don't have the credit to support it is probably a scam to get you to give away your money. S I have received numerous emails from Canada Revenue, Pay Pal, Ebay, Credit card companies all fake trying to bait me into giving out my personal information. There are millions and millions of scams out there. Don't let it happen to you!