LATEST SCAMS to WATCH FOR….
- Student Loan Forgiveness Scams
Scammers may contact you via phone or create phony application sites aimed at stealing your banking info, or SSN. They may also put pressure on victims with phony messages that encourage applying for debt relief before it’s too late. Then they’ll charge you a hefty application fee.
- Phone Scams
Scammers may try to get in touch with you by phone, and some scams rely on smartphones’ capabilities to access the internet and install malware.
- Robocalls: people’s phones ring with increasingly natural-sounding recorded voices offering auto warranties or vacations, or issuing threats to get your attention.
- Texts: Text messages from an unknown number or email address often include a link to a scammer’s website or app.
- Impersonators: Scammers impersonate IRS personnel, police, survey takers, relatives, delivery people and well-known companies to threaten you or gain your trust.
- Apps: Scammers may try to get you to install a malicious app, or they might create a nearly identical copy of an existing app and then make money from in-app purchases.
- QR codes: QR codes have gained popularity as an option to do things like read a restaurant menu or make a payment. However, scammers place their QR codes in inconspicuous spots, and scanning the code could prompt you to make a purchase or enter your credentials on a look-alike website.
- Zelle Scams
Scammers are using the Zelle payment app, as a means to steal people’s money by pretending to work for your bank or credit union’s fraud department. They’ll claim that a thief was trying to steal your money, and they will walk you through “fixing” the issue.
- Cryptocurrency Scams
People may fear missing out on investment opportunities with cryptocurrency. Scams can take different forms but may involve fake prizes, contests, giveaways or early investment opportunities. Scammers may impersonate celebrities or popular cryptocurrency websites to lure victims into sending money, sharing login information or “investing” in a project.
- Romance Scams
Romance scams often involve stealing someone’s identity or creating fake profiles on dating and social media apps to meet victims. Scammers may use stock photos and make excuses for why they can’t meet in person. After gaining your trust, they may ask you to buy them something or send them money. Or the person may “mistakenly” send you money and ask you to send it back or forward it to someone else. If your bank later determines that their payment was fraudulent, the sum of the payment will be subtracted from your account.
- Online Purchase Scams
The basic premise of this scam is that you purchase a product or service that’s never delivered. Scammers often sell goods on marketplace websites or social media, although some set up fake e-commerce stores. Always look for too good to be true prices or high-pressure sales tactics. Using your credit card can help you limit potential losses, as you can initiate a chargeback if you don’t receive a product or service.
HOW TO AVOID A SCAM
While scammers’ delivery methods and messaging can quickly change, a few basic security measures can help protect you from the latest and most common scams:
- Be skeptical when someone contacts you. Don’t share personal information, usernames, passwords or one-time codes that others can use to access your accounts.
- Enable multifactor authentication. Add this feature to any accounts that offer it as an option.
- Research companies. Before you make a purchase or donation, take a few minutes to review the company. Do a web search for its name plus “scam” or “reviews.”
- Be careful with your phone. If you suspect a spam call, don’t respond or press a button. The safest option is to hang up or ignore the call entirely. You can always look up the organization and initiate a call yourself if you’re worried there may actually be an issue.
- Don’t refund or forward overpayments. Be careful whenever a company or person asks you to refund or forward part of a payment. Often, the original payment will be fraudulent and taken back later.
- Look for suspicious payment requirements. Scammers often ask for payments via wire transfer, bank check/money order, cryptocurrency or gift cards. These payments can be harder to cancel than other forms of payment, which can leave you stuck without recourse.
If you’re the victim of a scam, you can file a report with the FTC and your local law enforcement. The report may help others avoid similar scams.