Virgin Mobile recently sent me an e-mail outlining ways to protect ourselves from scammers. Here are these tips, paraphrased so I won't be sued.
Watch out for aggressive and pushy marketers, whether on the phone or by e-mail. They want to make you feel intimidated or guilty so you'll give them whatever information they ask for. I got conned into installing an expensive alarm system by a salesman who grew angry at my hesitation. I didn't want to seem churlish so I signed up. What a mistake that was, both in money and in lousy customer service.
Beware of chances to win prizes, especially if the caller or e-mailer doesn't give a recognizable company name. The same applies to claims that you've won something. I got burned by the "free alarm system" bait and switch by that alarm company I just mentioned.
Never give out any personal information over the phone or e-mail to anybody claiming to be your bank, phone provider, or any other business. When in doubt, call the number of that business from the phone book and ask if they called about needing updated account information. People have fallen for this trick and paid dearly for it.
Additionally, I've received calls claiming my computer was sending out malware. The individual claimed to be from Microsoft or a company affiliated with them. By installing a program on my computer, he claimed that it would stop sending out viruses. This is a ruse to gain access to your PC. The malware that this supposed computer company would install on your hard drive would take all your personal information and send out malicious code. Well-established companies such as AVG have better anti virus programs and they don't contain spyware. Freeware programs often conceal this elicit code as toolbars which install even if you click "No."
Many countries now have agencies which track down scammers. If you feel that some person or agency is impersonating the police or trying to trick you, call these agencies or the authorities. Only by being wise about personal data and not falling for too-good-to-be-true offers will keep you safe. Reporting scams can help your police forces track down these miscreants, thus saving others from falling into these traps.
I also mentioned in my previous post about How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. It shows how I fell for many incredible lies. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers distribute this inspiring testimony of God's providential rescue of my soul.