Common Scams

There are many types of scams that use different methods to trick people into giving up their money or personal information. Here are some of the most common ones and how to avoid them:

– **Charity scams**: These scams involve criminals pretending to be legitimate charities or organizations that ask for donations, especially after a natural disaster or a crisis. To avoid them, you should research the charity before giving any money, check the website and contact details, and avoid clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails or messagesĀ¹.
– **Cyber scams**: These scams involve criminals using the internet to infect your devices with malware, steal your data, or extort you. Some examples are phishing emails, ransomware attacks, fake antivirus software, and tech support scams. To avoid them, you should use strong passwords and encryption, update your software and antivirus regularly, avoid opening suspicious emails or links, and never give remote access to your device to strangersĀ¹.
– **Advance fee scams**: These scams involve criminals asking you to pay a fee or taxes in advance to receive a prize, a loan, a job, or an inheritance. Some examples are lottery scams, romance scams, inheritance scams, and loan scams. To avoid them, you should never send money to someone you don’t know or trust, especially through wire transfers or gift cards, and be wary of offers that sound too good to be trueĀ¹.
– **Government agent scams**: These scams involve criminals pretending to be government officials or law enforcement agents who demand payment for taxes, fines, or fees. They may threaten you with arrest, deportation, or legal action if you don’t comply. Some examples are IRS scams, Social Security scams, and jury duty scams. To avoid them, you should hang up the phone if you receive such calls, and verify the identity of the caller by contacting the official agency directly using a trusted sourceĀ¹.

These are just some of the common scams that you may encounter online or offline. You can learn more about other types of scams and how to report them from the Federal Trade Commission websiteĀ². Remember to always be cautious and vigilant when dealing with strangers or unfamiliar requests.

Source: Conversation with Bing, 07/05/2023
(1) Four Common Scams And How To Avoid Them – Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesfinancecouncil/2020/05/06/four-common-scams-and-how-to-avoid-them/.
(2) The 6 Most Common Airbnb Scams and How to Avoid Them. https://www.msn.com/en-us/lifestyle/other/the-6-most-common-airbnb-scams-and-how-to-avoid-them/ar-AA1a8zLJ.
(3) Expert reveals how to spot the top 5 most common scams, including the ‘mum and dad’ WhatsApp trick – and how to avoid falling for them. https://www.msn.com/en-gb/money/other/expert-reveals-how-to-spot-the-top-5-most-common-scams/ar-AA1ahjoF.
(4) Here are the most common ‘bait and switch’ Airbnb scams, and how to avoid them. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/other/here-are-the-most-common-bait-and-switch-airbnb-scams-and-how-to-avoid-them/ss-AA1aCOgR.
(5) How to Spot and Avoid the Top Internet Scams | PCMag. https://www.pcmag.com/how-to/how-to-spot-and-avoid-the-top-internet-scams.

If you think you have been scammed, you should take the following steps as soon as possible:

– Stop all contact with the scammer. Do not respond to their messages or calls, and block their phone number, email address, or social media account.
– Report the scam to the platform where you met the scammer. This could be a dating app, a social media site, a gaming platform, or a website. They may be able to remove the scammer’s profile and warn other users.
– Report the scam to your local police. They may be able to investigate the scam and help you recover your money or goods. They may also refer you to other agencies or organizations that can provide support or assistance.
– Report the scam to your bank or financial institution. They may be able to stop or reverse any transactions that you made to the scammer. They may also issue you a new card or account number if your details have been compromised.
– Report the scam to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. They collect information about scams and share it with law enforcement and other agencies. They also provide tips and resources on how to avoid and recover from scams.
– Report the scam to the FBIā€™s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. They handle complaints about online fraud and cybercrime. They may be able to track down the scammer and bring them to justice.
– Contact a reputable credit reporting agency and place a fraud alert on your credit report. This will alert potential creditors that you may be a victim of identity theft and that they should verify your identity before granting credit. You can also request a free copy of your credit report and check for any unauthorized accounts or inquiries.
– Seek emotional support from your friends, family, or a counselor. Being scammed can be a traumatic experience that can affect your mental health and well-being. You may feel ashamed, angry, depressed, or isolated. You are not alone and there is help available. You can also join a support group for scam victims and share your story with others who understand what you are going through.

Remember that it is not your fault that you have been scammed. Scammers are skilled at manipulating people and exploiting their emotions. You are not stupid or gullible for falling for their tricks. You are a victim of a crime and you deserve respect and compassion.

 

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