CONSUMER INVESTIGATION: How to avoid e-mail and social media scams

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)- With new scams popping up every day, experts say you have to be on guard.

Now scammers are not only targeting your email address, but your social media profile to take your information and your money.

It only takes is one click on a link or one message for someone to fall victim to a scam.

New Orleans resident Dashia Celius was scammed on Instagram.

“It was supposed to be like you sent money and they flip your money and send you money back, like more money. I sent some money. And I never got anything,” Celius said.

Celius’ friends told her they had done it before, but she never saw any money in return.

Scott Police Chief Chad Leger said that they have been investigating Instagram scams as well.

“If it sounds great and it’s too good to be true it is,” Leger said.

He added that a user claims they’re selling a product and asks the buyer to put money on a pre-paid card to pay in advance.

“It’s because you can continue adding the funds to these cards after these cards have been terminated on that person’s account name,” Leger explained.

Scammers are still targeting email accounts too, using different tactics to steal money.

Experts say scammers are stepping up their game, claiming they’re from a certain company, even making a fake website identical to the real one.

Tech companies say they’re watching out and staying on top of scammers.

“We generate our own fake emails to send out to see if people click on them or not. If someone clicks on the email, we can track it and then report back to the owner that why they need to be trained for phishing attacks and scams,” Enterprise Data Concepts Chief Operating Officer Roddy Bergeron said. He added that local businesses have lost thousands of dollars because of a scam.

“The number one thing people like to talk about ‘Oh I often have anti-virus on my computer’, ‘I have spam filter’, but at the end of the day education is the number one way to stop some of these attacks,” Bergeron said.

Experts say in order to stop email attacks always be aware of who the sender is.

They suggest having a business email address and a social e-mail address.

Experts also advise not to fall for a high-pressure sale; don’t use a debit card online and know who you’re buying from.

If you’re unsure of a business or whether or not to make a purchase, check out the Better Business Bureau for a full list of accredited businesses

“I just encourage people to do a little research and make sure they are a reparable company and reparable business before they make any purchase online,” Leger explained.

“Don’t do things with people that you never met or friend-to-friend. See what’s actually going on don’t like go by hearsay because you never know,” Celius advised.

At the end of the day, it’s all up to you to know how to protect yourself online.

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