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Fulshear Police Offering Tips on How to Avoid Cybercriminals’ Scams

(FULSHEAR) – The Fulshear Police Department is warning residents about the proliferation of cyber scams and is offering tips for avoid becoming a victim.

“Cybercriminals are constantly changing their techniques and topics to achieve their nefarious goals,” said police. “Here are the things cybersecurity experts say you can do to spot text, phone, or online scams, and what you can do to avoid them.”

Talk to your family and stay up-to-date. Bring family members together and let them know they can come to you to check a suspicious text, call, or email—or if they think they have fallen for a scam. Reassure them there is nothing to be ashamed about—like any crime, this is not the victim’s fault. Then be sure to keep up with the latest scams. Know which new scams are trending.

Verify everything before you do anything. Always assume the people or companies contacting you are not who they say they are. Do not reply to texts or calls, or click links, from unknown sources. To confirm an identity, contact them on a different channel. If it was a Facebook message, send a text. If it was a phone call, call back on the main company number or the customer service number on their website. Or call AARP on 877-908-3360 and inquire about the possible fraud.

Watch for these signs of fraud:

  • The text, direct message, email, or call comes unexpectedly.

  • They say you won money, a prize, or are getting a refund.

  • The message makes you feel panicked. Scammers like to sound urgent.

  • A fast payment method is involved. Criminals want the money fast, using peer-to-peer apps (Venmo, Cash App, Zelle); wire transfers; prepaid gift cards; cryptocurrency; or cash.

  • They claim there are payment problems. Hang up and verify.

  • They ask for information. Again, hang up and verify.

  • Something just does not feel right.

Frustrate scammers by changing these settings:

Set social media profiles to private. If you need a public facing profile on one of these platforms, remove your location and contact information.

Facebook: Go to Settings & Privacy -- Followers and Public Content -- “Who can see the people, pages, and lists you follow?” -- select Friends or Only Me.

Messenger: Tap profile photo and select Privacy -- Message Delivery -- under Other People -- click on Others on Facebook -- select Don’t Receive Request.

Instagram: Under Potential Connections, set categories to Don’t Receive Requests or Message Requests to limit how many connections can message you directly.

WhatsApp: Go to Settings -- Account -- Privacy. Limit who can add you to groups, and who can see your personal information and status.

Phone Contacts: Add all known contacts to your Contacts, so you can readily ignore unknown numbers. Then send all unknown callers to Voicemail. On iPhone, go to Settings -- Phone -- Silence Unknown Callers. On Android phones, open Phone app, tap menu button (three dots), then Settings. Most Android phones will have options for blocking numbers, and caller ID and spam protection.

  • Make sure your Voicemail message is set up.

  • Phone and App privacy settings. Turn on all available privacy settings.


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