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Spotting Scams

Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2024
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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13 Comments
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Spotting Scams

And other important things you should know!

Scams are dishonest schemes whereby good people are swindled by bad actors who seek to perform fraud. These bad actors target innocent victims via text, phone, online, and sometimes in person. Scammers use tricks aimed at gaining their victims’ trust for the purpose of taking advantage of them.

Mainly, scammers are interested in two things

One – STEALING FINANCIAL INFORMATION

Two – STEALING IDENTITY OR PERSONAL INFORMATION

 

While some scammers may threaten potential victims, others may be “nice” in their interactions with the person they seek to scam.

Scammers will use all the tricks in the book to gain their victims’ trust.

Here are five examples:

1. Scammers will pretend to be from a familiar organization

 

This potentially includes:

  • IRS
  • FTC
  • Social Security Administration
  • Medicare
  • Utility company
  • Charity
  • The big-five tech companies (Amazon, Apple, Google, Meta, Microsoft)

 

Know this:

These companies don’t call, email or text you to request your personal information.

Avoid engaging with scammers. To do so, FTC encourages blocking unwanted calls, emails, and text messages.

Never open links on suspicious emails as senders can put malware on your computer, steal information, or gain access to your computer systems.

Note that businesses you do use – such as utility companies – already have your personal information on file. Thus, they will not contact you for your personal information.

Nor will a professional company ever pose threats to get you to pay them.

 

2.Scammers will pretend that there is a problem with your computer or an account

Scammers frequently seek to instill fear in individuals to persuade them to share personal information. For example, they may say there is a virus on your computer or that there is a problem with an account. Then, they may offer to help you with those problems if you verify information or pay a fee. This is all part of their scam.

Know this:

If you get an unsolicited call, email, or text telling you that there is something wrong with your computer, ignore it.

Genuine tech support personnel do not randomly call people to report problems nor ask for you to click links or contact them for support.

Should you receive a call of that nature, simply hang up or block these scammers.

Never worry about being rude to a possible scammer.

 

3.Scammers will pretend they are someone familiar with an emergency

In this fraud scheme, scammers will typically call during the middle of the night – when victims are tired and groggy – to fake an emergency. For example, they may claim to be a grandchild in jail, being held hostage, or in a car accident. They will likely demand or beg for bail money, hostage payments, or money to fix their car.

To make things worse, artificial intelligence has made it easy for scammers to now clone a loved one’s voice – so the scam call could sound like them. Voice cloning, whereby someone’s voice is copied off social media, for example, is on the rise.

Know this:

Should you receive an “emergency” call, be skeptical. Do not immediately believe what you are hearing. If possible, put the caller on hold, and use a second phone to call that family member to verify their safety.

Important – use a phone number you already have on file to verify your family member’s safety – NOT a number given to you.

If you only have one phone, hang up and call them (again, using a number you already have on file) to confirm that they are okay.

As a second layer of protection, experts say that setting up a family emergency password is helpful. Emergency passwords must not be shared with outsiders. Since infrequently used passwords are hard to remember, and they can be leaked, having one is helpful but not foolproof.

 

4.Scammers pretend you won a prize such as a sweepstake drawing

In this scam, a person may be falsely told that they won money or a reward in some type of drawing or lottery. Often, “winners” are required to pay a fee to get the prize and/or provide personal information to gain access to the prize. “Winners” may be told to provide bank account details for the prize to be directly deposited into their account. These are sneaky tricks scammers use to gain access to your bank account to steal your money and identity. While we all seek good luck, if something sounds too good to be true, it’s likely a scam.

Know this:

Understand that you are under no obligation to answer calls from strange numbers you do not recognize. It’s best to not engage with unknown callers.

Anyone asking you to make payments in gift cards or cryptocurrency is likely a scammer.

Watch for suspicious emails. Also keep your eyes open for spoof emails (ones that appear to be from a familiar source – but are not).

Only open emails from trusted sources. When uncertain, do not click on attachments or links that can contain malware or lead to cybercrime victimization.  

As always, keep your computer antivirus and OS continually updated.

 

5.Scammers pretend they will arrest you for some type of violation if you don’t pay

Recently, some communities were hit with an elaborate money scam involving “failure to appear for jury duty.” Scammers called potential victims (and even their relatives) and posed as county sheriffs. They threatened to issue “a warrant for arrest” unless money was paid to a bond agent. The scammers used real sheriff names and badge numbers. Additionally, calls appeared to come from the telephone number of the sheriff’s department. In this elaborate scam, the real sheriffs were being impersonated without their knowledge by scammers seeking to steal people’s money.

Know this:

If a person misses jury duty, typically a second summons is issued by mail. A person will never be called or threatened to make payments to make the problem “go away.”

Keeping safe by spotting scams

Above are five examples of common scams. Beware as there are many more out there!

FYI

  • Scams are on the rise, and they are becoming more prevalent and sophisticated with time. Thus, increased awareness and the ability to spot scams is essential.
  • Scammers will use numerous forms of trickery to gain trust – even pretending to be companies or people you know.
  • Scammers can be quite convincing – some even sound friendly.
  • Some scammers may resort to threats or use scare tactics or fear mongering.
  • Note that scams are crimes. Thus, it is up to us to report potential or active cases of scams.
  • People should never be afraid or embarrassed to report scams. In fact, doing so helps protect you and your community.
  • Scams should be promptly reported to ftc.gov
  • To see what’s going on in your state or metro area, visit gov/exploredata
  • For facts about scams, click here.

 

This article is purely informational and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice.

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anna hubert
anna hubert
2 months ago

How about the scam in the WH?

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Scammer defense:
Phone has Ans machine, landline
Delete unknown ph# on smartphone

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
2 months ago

Its easy to identify a bunko artist: they have a (D) after their names and hyper-inflated senses of ego.

Earle B
Earle B
2 months ago

Thank you very much for these warnings. Very timely. John 3, v 16

Mary Lou
Mary Lou
2 months ago

Good article

Steve Peacock
Steve Peacock
2 months ago

It sounds like scammers and politicians are the same people

Marc
Marc
2 months ago

C+ Rating for Nativepath Antarctic Krill Supplement>>>>>

Randall L. Beatty
Randall L. Beatty
2 months ago

The biggest scam is up in the White House, what they are doing to this country. There will be a lot going on election night there better watchers at the polls. What they are doing to Trump there is no America left just corruption.

Business strategies
Business strategies
2 months ago

Teamwork executed like a well-coordinated marketing team – achieving great results together.

Edward Petru
Edward Petru
2 months ago

First thing is stop calling them BAD ACTORS. They are criminals. Never thought that AMAC would start using the same language the socialist democrats us.
We have lost our country ????

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