We all think we’re too smart to fall for a scam until we do! Fraud victims cross socio-economic boundaries, education levels, age, etc. Scammers are so good at convincing us that there’s a problem we need to fix or something too good to be true coming our way that it’s easy to become a victim. 

Lisa Rowan, who writes for Two Cents, a personal finance section of lifehacker.com, shares lots of tips to avoid falling prey to scammers, but also some helpful hints for how to have conversations about scammers with loved ones. Below is a brief summary of basic tips to keep yourself safe; to read the whole article, check it out here!

Here’s the very least you need to remember to keep your identity safe. Learn it, live it, love it:

  • The IRS never calls asking for your Social Security number. The IRS rarely calls at all, and prefers snail mail.

  • The Social Security Administration doesn’t call you asking for your number. They already have it.

  • Never email sensitive personal information like your SSN or images of government documents (Social Security card, driver’s license, passport) unless that transmission will be encrypted. For example: Your doctor’s office asks you to upload a photo of your ID to their patient portal? That’s fine. But you shouldn’t just send them an email with the image attached.

  • Don’t volunteer your SSN to anyone unless you’re absolutely sure they need it to provide the services you have requested. Don’t be afraid to ask if you can provide an alternate way to verify your identity.

  • Don’t click on links texted or emailed by people you don’t know, or from people claiming to be from government agencies.