I came across this today on one of the deal
sites I monitor, thought it had a lot of good tips
Don't Fall for Scams: It seems that every day we hear about people who fall victim to one of the many scams. The latest we heard about is scammers using Craigslist to post fake ads for job postings at large companies, and they ask for names and social security numbers to complete the application.
Never trust your personal information with anyone on the Internet or by telephone, unless you initiate the communication and trust them. If you receive a phone call, see an online ad, or receive an email, there are some warning signs to look out for:
* Scammers who "contact you", claiming to know things about you:
o If someone contacts you, never automatically assume they are who they say they are. This includes phone, email, postal mail, and text messages.
o If you are unsure who someone is when they contact you by email, phone, Internet, or text messaging, but they do not know your name, do not respond.
o Often they use a scare tactic, claiming your bank account has been compromised and you must click the link and re-enter your bank's login information, only their link is a fake look-alike site designed to steal your information and money. If you do receive such a notice from your bank or credit card, simply call your bank using the number on your card or statement. Never click on links on the email, even if the emails appear legitimate.
* Scammers who "solicit victims":
o If you see an online ad for jobs at a company on a non-reputable website (such as Craigslist), check the company's website for contact information, and call or email them to confirm the job postings are real.
o If you receive an official-looking letter in the mail notifying you that your car's warranty is about to expire, or your Internet domain name must be renewed to avoid losing it, never respond to those. Even if they are not scams, often they are non-reputable third-parties trying to scare you into giving them your money or transferring your existing services to them.
* Scammers who Email:
o If an unfamiliar person uses a free email account like @yahoo.com or @gmail.com, never assume they are who they say they are.
o If someone you do not know personally uses an email account at a domain name you never heard of, do some research before assuming they are legitimate. First use Domaintools.com, look up their email address, then scroll to the bottom and view their registration information. If their mailing address does not appear real, or uses a "privacy" or "proxy" service to hide their identity, chances are they are a scammer. Second, see if they have a website, and contact them using the phone number, email address, or mailing address on their website. Third, run a simple google search on the company and see how many results show up, to see if they appear legitimate. Legitimate companies always keep their contact information public.
o Sometimes scammers will send fake invitations to events, or fake emails showing your order is on hold and must be claimed. Again, confirm the information by contacting the company yourself via their website and/or phone, and never click on links within the emails.
o Scammers may claim they know you, but you don't know them.
o Scammers may offer illegal services or products by email.
o If an email appears confusing or illegible, just ignore it.
* Scammers who approach you in-person:
o Legitimate people collecting money for a cause will have flyers, contact numbers, and websites because they want to get their word to as many people they can. Scammers will likely have dirty or mutilated signs, or may tell a "hard luck" story.
o Scammers will likely solicit an area, and quickly move on especially in urban areas or areas suffering from disaster. So if there is someone you never saw before or heard of, ask for their credentials, licenses, or identification before giving them any money or information.
o Ask them for their phone number, then use your cell phone to call them. Scammers will rarely give phone numbers because it is easy for authorities to trace.
Most of all, use common sense. It never hurts to ask questions, and don't forget to pick up the phone and call them to ensure they are legit.