But you don’t need to do any unusual browsing to stumble across a scam. You may know not to Google something like “free Amazon gift card,” but what if you need help with your Prime account? Just search for customer service, right? Wrong. The best way to find help is to go to the source (and read this article).

  1. Customer service numbers - as a rule, you shouldn’t Google customer service numbers. Even the top results can lead you to fake phone numbers, where someone will ask you for personal information, including credit card numbers.
  2. Tech support - scammers can easily create spoofed websites that look like the real thing. Always find tech support links and phone numbers through official websites.
  3. Financial services and apps - just as you should for customer service or tech support, use the company’s official website or app to get the contact information you need. Take the same precautions with your banking activity. Check the back of your credit and debit cards for official phone numbers.
  4. Government programs - we have seen stimulus programs in action and know that the amount of time varies from person to person for receiving a check. Unsurprisingly, scammers are waiting for you to search for something like “Where is my stimulus check?”
  5. Trade professionals - just because a result is at the top of your Google search doesn’t mean the person/company is reputable.
  6. Apps - there’s an app for everything, but not all apps are safe. When you download a program from a third-party app store, you open your device to potentially malicious software.
  7. Coupon codes - if you need coupon codes, check the company site itself for promos. You can also use a service like Honey, which does all the work for you to find and apply coupons.