Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Common scams

Some scammers take their time to persuade you by using stories to play on emotions in order to gain trust before they steal from you.

Here are some examples to learn from:

  • A deal via social media or online shopping websites such as eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, OfferUp, Swappa etc., by selling stuff you may be interested in but ask that you must pay using cash or an app other than the app from the site you're purchasing through.
  • Imposters such as pretending to be from the tax agency because you owe some taxes and a lawsuit is pending if you don't pay right away. Others pretend to be from tech companies and say they need to update your computer system, while others pretend to be from your utility company inquiring about a late payment where they ask you to supply personal and financial information so they can compare it in the system.
  • Grandma, Grandpa calls - they pretend to be a grand kid that's stranded somewhere, or in some sort of trouble, or kidnapped and nee money fast.
  • You've won! - Some scammers will tell you that you've won a large sum of money from lottery or raffle, or money left under your name or money entitled to you from example a class action settlement or unclaimed money from the past, etc. They will ask for your personal and financial information in order to collect tax on the money before they "pay you."
  • Investment pitch. Scammers will try to tell you about a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity to invest and reap big rewards. You will be promised massive profits and guaranteed great returns in a short and long term. You will be asked to invest immediately.
  • Romance scams. Scammers play with emotions and feelings, especially online when they can promise anything you desire after learning about your situation. They do not care if you've been looking for a soulmate for a long time, or you've recently separated or divorced and trying to heal, or you've lost your spouse and are vulnerable. The promise to mee you in person but first, they need some money because they cannot afford to travel or are trapped on a mission somewhere.
  • Business compromise emails (BCE). Some scammers will infiltrate the institution you're doing business with for a home, property, car, office or business equipment, by phishing and spoofing their email address and tell you of a change in closing information and you have to wire money to a new account.

How to try and protect yourself

  • Do not share your personally identifiable information (PII) with anyone
  • Do not share your bank information
  • Do not click links in emails or text messages - go to the company's website directly or call them from the number in your statement or in the back of your card.
  • Do not access your financial accounts information using a public internet.
  • Trust your instincts or gut feeling. Think before you act. Genuine people will understand if you need time to double check and verify. It is better to be late or laughed at than be sorry.
  • Protect others by sharing information about scams and how to stay ahead. Listen and from others as well, you may learn or get reminded of something.