(3TV/CBS5) -- It's the new year and that means a renewed focus on online wellness. With that said, The Better Business Bureau is offering tips and reminders to keep 2021 a “fraud-free” year.

Online scams are everywhere: emails, Internet purchases, even social media. They're all areas that can make us vulnerable to fraud if we're not careful with what we share and who we share it with. “Scammers are always finding new ways to develop their scams and of course because of the pandemic and other factors they found new ways to pivot their scams as well,” Tierra Terry told 3 On Your Side. She’s with the Phoenix BBB and gave 3 On Your Side tips to secure a “fraud-free” new year.

  1. Always be cautious with your email. “Be on guard if you received unsolicited emails form a person or a company that you have never heard of before,” Tierra said. “Especially the links and attachments. Don't ever click on those and don't ever open them because they could actually be downloading malware onto your device.”
  2. Never send money to strangers. “If you haven't met the person face to face or virtually do not send them money.” During the pandemic more legitimate transactions are taking place online but 3 On Your Side and the BBB warns to be extra careful. “Sending money using prepaid debit cards, Cash App and other untraceable avenues are not the best way to do that,” she said.
  3. Do research before making online payments and think twice when sharing personal information. Tierra says visit company websites and check to see if they have a company profile on www.bbb.org. “Never share your bank, your banking information, credit card, birthday, address, Social Security number and especially Medicare number with anyone who has randomly contacted you.”
  4. Be social media smart. Don't fall for bogus deals or offers. “Our BBB Scam Tracker has received thousands of complaints about misleading Facebook and Instagram ads. So it is really important to make sure that you read through what you're doing on social media before opting in or purchasing.”
Gary Harper's 3 On Your Side reports air weeknights on 3TV News at 9.

Copyright 2021 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.


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