There’s nothing remotely funny about losing money, especially if it’s a loss that could have been prevented. If something sounds too good to be true, it’s probably is a scam. Here are a few examples of common fraud schemes and how you can avoid being victimized:
1. Spoofing scam
The phone scam artists falsify or “spoof” their caller ID information with local or familiar phone numbers to trick you into answering. Luckily, there are several ways you can verify if a company is legitimate, including checking with the Better Business Bureau or doing an Internet search. Additionally, there are many watchdog organizations which will list scam companies along with consumer complaints. Companies in good standing will not force you into an immediate decision. They should be able to send you the information in writing.
2. Grandparent scam
Scammers will call in a panic pretending to be the victims' grandchildren and act like they have been in an accident or are in trouble. They will ask for money to be wired and ask you not to tell their parents. If this happens, tell the person you will need to call him or her back. Then call the person they were impersonating to verify. Most likely it wasn’t your loved one and the scammer will be on to its next victim.
3. Cell phone scam
A lost or stolen cell phone is a dream come true for criminals, as it allows them to gather personal information which can be used for identity theft. If you have misplaced your phone, alert your mobile carrier immediately and ask for it to be deactivated.
4. Online scam
Scams over the internet are so rampant, there is no way to name all of them. It is safe to assume you’re being taken for a scam if an email contains the false promise of an inheritance or asks for bank or credit card details. Never send money or give credit card, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust.
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