Your Safety First: Common Scams to Avoid and Tips on How to Stay Safe Online

Your wellbeing is our priority, and we want you to be well in everything you do. That includes staying safe online, and in honor of Safer Internet Day, we put together a list of common internet scams and how you can avoid them. 

Keep Your Medicare Information Secure

  • Medicare will never contact you asking for your Medicare Number or any other personal information unless you have given them permission to do so.
  • Only give out your Medicare Number to people you trust such as your doctor, pharmacist or an agent/broker who you know. 
  • Keeping your Medicare information safe is the first step in protecting yourself from Medicare fraud. has compiled helpful tips on the do’s and don’ts of keeping your sensitive Medicare information private.  

Know How the IRS Contacts People

  • This scam occurs when you receive an email from someone claiming to be from the IRS asking you to update your personal information online. The IRS will never send you an email, text or message through social media. 
  • The IRS will never call you and ask for your Social Security Number over the phone. They will also never threaten you with jail for unpaid taxes or ask for payment in the form of prepaid gift cards. 
  • Not sure what to do if you think someone impersonating the IRS is calling you? Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s advice on how to deal with potential scammers.

Never Click on Pop-Ups

  • If a pop-up appears on your screen alerting you that you have a computer virus, do not click on it. This scam works by claiming that your computer is infected and offering to perform a scan on the computer. The scan will actually install malware on your computer, which can be used to scan the computer for personal information. 
  • When you see a pop-up alert, immediately close all internet tabs you have open. 

Be Aware of Fraudulent Charities

  • After a disaster, many scammers create fake websites in order to solicit donations under the guise of sending the money to victims. 
  • Always verify the website before donating online. Many scammers make the website look similar to the legitimate website. One way to verify if a website is authentic is to look for https before the url. If the “s” is missing, this means the site is not secure and likely fraudulent. Always type the site name directly into the browser instead of following a link from an email you do not recognize. 
  • Legitimate charities, such as Red Cross and American Humane, will never ask for donations through gift cards or untraceable wire transfers. 
  • To see if a charity organization is legitimate, search for them on to verify they are real. You can also donate directly to the charity through this site. 

Always Verify Who You Are Talking to Online  

  • The internet is a great way to meet new people, but it is important to take safety precautions when connecting with people this way. If someone never agrees to talk on the phone, video chat or meet in person, it is likely because they are a scammer. 
  • Never send money to people you meet online. Scammers will often pose as if they are stuck in another country and need money to return to the US. If the person you are talking to claims this to be the case but refuses to speak with you on video chat, it is because they are not who they say they are. 
  • Another common ploy used is creating a fake Facebook profile of a family member. This fake profile will message you posing as your family member and saying they are in trouble and need money immediately, likely in the form of a wire transfer or prepaid gift card. If you receive a suspicious message from a family member, call the person to verify it is really them. 

We care about your health and wellbeing, and we want you to stay safe online. For more information on how you can protect yourself on the internet, check out these sources below: 

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