Avoid Common Scams
Most of the current schemes are re-packaged versions of the same old scams. Some of the common ones involve a lottery scenario or a sure fire investment. Yet, despite the modifications, a common theme remains - scammers request personal information such as your bank account number, Social Security, or date of birth, in exchange for a reward or service. Often, scams may come through phone calls from real people, text messages, or robocalls. The old caution still applies, if it sounds too good to be true, back off.
Here are a few recent scams to avoid if you encounter them.
ID Theft/Gift card scam
- Victim receives a call from the suspect saying they are an officer with a law enforcement agency using a spoofed caller ID number that appears to be legitimate
- Victim is told they are a victim of ID theft and they want to help you protect your money from being stolen by the thieves
- Told to stay on the phone as they go to their bank and withdraw all their money and go to multiple stores to buy gift cards and then asked to send a photo of the cards or read off the numbers on the cards
- Sometimes victim told to “flag their credit” by opening a loan at a bank and then withdrawing all the money to purchase more gift cards
PayPal/Amazon/computer hack scam
- Victim receives an e-mail that appears to be a PayPay or Amazon purchase confirmation showing an expensive item being shipped to some other address and if they did not make this purchase to call the listed number or victim receives a pop-up on their computer alerting them their computer was hacked and to call tech support at a listed number to renew their warranty
- Victim calls and is instructed to download a program that allows the suspect to remotely access their device, which is now allowing the suspect to hack the victim’s device
- Sometimes the suspect tells the victim to log into their bank account so they can replace their stolen funds and then show the victim a fake screen that appears they made a mistake by accidentally depositing way more money then they should have and say they will lose they job if they do not get the money back and the only way is to buy gift cards.
Online pet purchase scam
- Victim goes to a fake website selling a rare breed of cat or dog
- Victim is asked to send the payment via an electronic form of payment such as Zelle, Cash App, Paypal
- Victim is then asked several more times to send more money for insurance, transportation, vaccinations, or some other problem that arose
Business E-mail Compromise
- Victim receives an e-mail that looks like it is from the boss asking them to go to the store to purchase gift cards as gifts for the other employees
- Victim receives an e-mail that appears to be from another employee asking them to change their direct deposit information
- Victim receives an e-mail that appears to be from a vendor company informing them they changed their bank account information for payment
- Victim business receives an e-mail that appears to be from their legitimate long time customer who places an order and never pays
- Victim believes they received a job offer through e-mail as an executive assistant working from home and is asked to open bank accounts or use their own to accept payments and then send the payments to the employer or convert it into cryptocurrency
- Victim thinks they were offered a job as a “repackager” and starts receiving multiple deliveries at their residence and is asked to open them and put the items into a larger boxes and then ship them to their employer when in reality these packages are the result of identity theft purchases and the “repackager” is being used as a mule to conceal the suspects location and identity
- Victim receives a call or text message from their utility company advising they did not receive payment and their utility will be shut off immediately if a payment is not made with gift cards or some other electronic form of payment
Grandchild or friend in need scam
- Victim receives a call or e-mail from suspect saying they are their grandchild who got arrested for a car crash or DUI or a friend who traveled overseas and had their belongings stolen
- Victim is asked to wire money for bail or for assistance
Online romance scam
- Victim receives a message on social media out of the blue or through an online dating site from the suspect who quickly begins to form a romantic relationship without ever meeting
- Something comes up like they traveled out of the country and were mugged and need money or they need someone to accept a payment for them and to transfer it elsewhere
- Victim is sometimes asked to send naked photos or videos of themselves, which are then used to blackmail the victim into sending money
Rental home scam
- Victim finds a fraudulent listing on Craigslist or other real estate website that’s underpriced
- Believing they are legitimately renting a property, they send money to the owner or property management company usually sight unseen
- On moving day, victim finds the home is occupied and not up for rent at all.
- Legitimate businesses and organizations will not ask for gift cards as means of payment
- Stop and talk to someone about strange offers, or call the police to confirm if the information is legitimate. Financial scammers utilize fear to compel you to act immediately without thinking.
- Do not open an e-mail without checking the sender's information. The FBI and other institutions will not send you an e-mail from a Gmail address!
- Do not answer the phone from any number you do not recognize. Screen your calls.
- If an offer appears to be too good to be true, then it probably is!