Many of us enjoy a good joke or can appreciate a harmless prank, but what happens when the “joke’s on you” turns to identity theft or financial loss? Your Tri-State BBB® offers dos and don’ts to avoid being fooled by a scam.

Don’t get emotional – Scam victims are often motivated by fear, greed, romance or excitement. These emotions can cause you to rush to a decision before checking the facts.  Avoid heart wrenching tales with urgent need, claims that you’ve won a substantial amount of money but you have to pay a fee before receiving it, or demands for payment on debts you may not owe. Also, watch out for calls from a relative in a desperate situation, ask questions first that only they would be able to answer, to confirm their identity.

Don’t worry about being rude – If a stranger calls asking for personal information or is applying high pressure during a call, hang up and don’t feel bad. You can always call and verify with companies or organizations directly if you feel a call could have some validity. Scammers are full of excuses and stories, so hanging up quickly can stop them in their tracks.

Do be careful with your curiosity – That celebrity story or viral video on Facebook may lead to a dangerous virus. Be careful online; avoid pop-ups on your computer, opening emails from unknown senders, and free trial offers or surveys.

For more do's and don'ts, click here.