This letter to the editor was submitted as a press release.
Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, Attorney General William Tong, Connecticut State College and Universities President Mark Ojakian and the Better Business Bureau marked National Cybersecurity Awareness Month last week by visiting Tunxis Community College students to discuss proactive measures residents can take to enhance cybersecurity at home, at school and in the workplace.
People in their 20s and 30s are 25% more likely to report losing money to fraud than adults over 40 according to a Federal Trade Commission Data Spotlight Report. In the majority of those reports, young people lose money online.
During the visit, officials highlighted ways consumers can avoid online scams:
- Don’t fall for click bait. There are more and more tempting ads that seem specifically tailored to users’ preferences showing up on social media. Many of them are legitimate, but some are bait for phishing attacks, or are flashy advertisements trying to get you to purchase substandard products.
- Don’t follow influencers blindly. Influencers put a human face to products we’re thinking about purchasing, but that doesn’t make them trustworthy. Influencers are paid to promote products, and in some cases, are even fake profiles.
- Be wary of email and text solicitations. Scammers and hackers will try to text and email you, and impersonate a company that sounds legitimate, but isn’t. Never click on a link sent by an unfamiliar source.
- Think twice before signing up for a subscription. Subscriptions are often advertised as a good deal with a price cut, but they may lock you into a situation where you’re repeatedly paying for something that you’re not using or isn’t as convenient as the ad lets on. Always do an assessment of what you actually need before signing up for a subscription.
- Price check. Always double check prices with other vendors, and see what shipping cost does to the price of your item. Sometimes a low-priced item isn’t as good of a deal because shipping and other fees are expensive.
- Don’t give out your personal information to someone you don’t know. Scammers are manipulative and count on gaining your trust in order to take your personal information. Never put your sensitive personal information in an email, and never give it to anyone unless you know for certain they’re trustworthy.
“All of us are targets of scammers at some point in our lives,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, “They do not discriminate in who they target, but technology is making it easier and easier for scammers to give you a personal pitch online – and it’s starting to seriously affect the generation that we think of as tech savvy. I want to thank Attorney General Tong, President Ojakian, the Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut and Tunxis Community College for bringing attention to this important issue.”
“As the number of phishing scams, data breaches and robocalls continue to increase, the importance of cybersecurity cannot be overlooked. From small business owners and large corporations, to college students and senior citizens, scammers target countless people each day in hopes of stealing their information or hard-earned money. During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s reinforce the need for businesses, colleges and consumers to have the proper security protocols in place to protect our personal information,” said Attorney General William Tong.
“People of all ages and all walks of life are susceptible to online scams,” said President Ojakian. “Today we are encouraging students, faculty, and staff to take precautions to avoid having their information or money stolen. By remaining vigilant and learning about common online scams, people can reduce the chance they will fall victim to fraudulent activity.”
“Better Business Bureau is so happy to be a part of this talk with college students about cybersecurity and scams. The top two riskiest scams of 2018 according to the BBB ScamTracker Risk Report were employment and online purchase scams,” said Better Business Bureau Serving Connecticut’s Spokesperson Luke Frey, “Both of these scams primarily target consumers ages 18-24 so it is extremely important that young consumers understand that seniors are no longer the primary target for all fraud.”
Those who wish to file a complaint, or let the state know about an issue are encouraged to contact us using the information below:
|Consumer Protection||https://ct.gov/dcp/complaint||(860) 713-6300|
|Office of the Attorney General||https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/||(860) 808-5318|
Anyone who notices or has fallen victim to a scam is also encouraged to report it to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.
Lora Rae Anderson
Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection