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3 Tips to Protect Your Personal Information

There's a balance between the convenience that advancement in technology has provided with the fact that it's created new avenues for potential scams. For this reason, it's important to be aware of the current scams that are going around during a given period of time, like the FedEx shipping scam that occurred during the holidays, and to take certain steps to protect yourself.

It's also important to report any scams you become aware of, as they can help identify the scammer or at least get the word out. Here are some helpful tips to protect your personal information, so that you don't fall victim to identity theft.

Millennials Are Most Likely to Get Hit With Financial Scams

Young people tend to think they're smarter than their parents and especially their grandparents. But, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), last year Americans in their twenties lost more money in financial scams that those over seventy years old. More specifically, 40 percent of millennials indicated that they lost money to fraudulent schemes compared to the 18 percent of older consumers (those 70 and older) who reported that they lost money as a result of fraud.

Of note, however, is the fact that the median loss for those 20-29 years old was $400, while the median loss for those in their 70s was $621 and those in their 80s or older was $1,092.

Between the gifts you're buying online this holiday season and the ones you might be expecting or hoping to get from friends and loved ones, you're probably expecting an email confirmation or two about those packages being delivered. And you would be understandably upset if you saw an email in your inbox that read "FedEx: Delivery Problems Notification."

If you got one of these emails, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is, that email is fake. The bad news is, it could infect your computer with malware if you're not careful.

More than ever, people are turning to the internet to find their lawyer. And, sadly, there are more online scams than ever. So it's probably natural that scammers would start impersonating lawyers online.

For years, the Department of Justice has been warning about fraudsters using real attorney names and professional information to set up fake law firm websites to solicit legal work and scam clients out of their money. So both consumers and lawyers need to be aware of the fake lawyer website scam.

Getting something in the mail is awesome. Getting something free in the mail is even better. But getting dozens of packages containing cheap hair ties from China? Even free has its limits.

The more interesting question is why a company, or anyone for that matter, would send you the same thing for free, over and over again? It's called "brushing," and it's illegal, even in China.

For those of us who don't want to be trampled at the door of a box store on Black Friday, there's Cyber Monday, the day we can feed the capitalist consumption machine from the safety of our homes, phones, and cubicles.

And while we may not need to worry as much about our physical wellbeing on Cyber Monday, our online health is at a far greater risk. Shopping scams, Wi-Fi hackers, and data theft can ruin your holiday deal treasure hunt. So before you start getting click-happy this Cyber Monday, here are a few tips to keep your online shopping safe:

The old trope of horror and suspense films -- where the bad guy's call is traced to the same house as the victim -- is taking on a new twist in an effort to scam unwitting answerers. Scam artists, able to spoof caller ID information, can make it look like they're calling from a different place or phone number. And now they've started spoofing your own number, hoping it will make you curious enough to pick up.

Don't.

After a national tragedy, like the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, you may want to reach deep into your pocketbook to help the victims, or donate to related causes. However, before you decide to donate, you may want to confirm that you're really donating your money to a real charity rather than just giving it to a scammer.

As disgusting as it sounds, some scammers have already tried to capitalize on the mass shooting in Las Vegas. Fake donation pages set up to look like funds would go to victims or victims' families, but in reality, the money was going directly to a scammer. Authorities have already had some scam donation pages taken down.

Puppy Scams? Yes, Puppy Scams

Is nothing sacred anymore? Can we not even leave pure, innocent animals out of our online scams these days?

Apparently not. The Better Business Bureau is reporting that 80 percent of sponsored advertisements about pets may be fake, leading to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost to pet fraud. Scam artists are posting pictures of puppies, taking payment, and then never producing the pet. These people are monsters.

Where goes any hack or data breach, so comes the scam. Worried your personal information is in the hands of criminals? Give us, who are definitely not criminals, your personal information and we'll check and make sure to keep you safe. The appeal is simple, insidious, and predictable.

So it's not surprising that, following on the heels of what might be the most damaging data breach in history, here comes the Equifax scam.