>> Be skeptical of any opportunity that doesn’t pay a regular salary or engages a foreign company.

>> Research a company by checking with the Federal Trade Commission, Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General’s Office.

“Understand though that many of these scams originate overseas and little, if anything, can be done to recover monies surrendered willingly,” commented Watkins. “The biggest this is to use common sense and never send money to someone that asks you to use wire transfer, a prepaid debit card, or a gift card, those cannot be traced and are as good as cash,. If a deals sound too good to be true, it is.

“Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in unsolicited emails. Links, if clicked, will download malware onto your computer, smart phone, tablet or whatever electronic device you’re using at the time, allowing cyber thieves to steal your identity. Be cautious even with email that looks familiar; it could be fake. Instead, delete it if it looks unfamiliar and block the sender.

“Don’t believe everything you see,“ cautions Watkins. “Scammers are great at mimicking official seals, fonts, and other details. Just because a website or email looks official does not mean that it is. Caller ID is commonly faked also.

“Use extreme caution when dealing with anyone you’ve met online. Scammers use dating websites, Craigslist, social media, and many other sites to reach potential targets. They can quickly feel like a friend or even a romantic partner, but that is part of the con for you to trust them