Whether it’s being suckered into thinking you inherited a large sum of money or receiving emails from bogus businesses, scammers are everywhere.
Sure, some think this could never happen to them or that they are too smart to fall prey to such schemes, but if you’re not familiar with the tricks, becoming a victim may be easier than you think.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, fraud and theft complaints topped 1.2 million in past years. Before you give out your personal information or fill out a survey, know these most common money scams to avoid becoming another statistic.
The fake fortune
If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Maybe you’ve even received one yourself — a notification saying you have “unclaimed money” from an inheritance you didn’t know you had. These scams usually require sending money to pay taxes or anything else before receiving your prize.
Don’t take the bait and go “phishing”
It happens more often than you think. You open an email that requires you to verify or update your information. This tactic is most commonly known as phishing, where an electronic message is sent to try and coerce personal information from an individual. Rule of thumb: No reputable service will provide links within an email to enter sensitive personal information, as it is simply too easy to reproduce. In fact, many financial institutions ask that you report such emails to them to protect their customers.
The danger of door-to-door sales
You might not realize that you need to know how to identify door-to-door scams until you understand how easy it can be to fall for one. If you answer the door, be aware of the high-pressure tactics used to convince people to give out personal information and then purchase products they don’t need or, in many cases, buy and never receive.
Beware of charity crooks
From helping sick children to rescuing animals, scam artists often use legitimate charitable needs as a way to entice people into giving monetarily. Before you donate, do your research, contact the organization and make sure you know where your money is going.
“Work from your home and make thousands” advertisements seem to be all over the internet nowadays. As people continue to look for jobs and a means to make more money, individuals are becoming increasingly vulnerable to these types of scams. If you fill out an application and are asked to include any sensitive information, save yourself the headache and move on. If you truly believe an organization is legitimate, look them up on your state website or with the Better Business Bureau before giving out any information.
To learn more
You can get more helpful tips on how you can protect your personal information by visiting www.consumer.ftc.gov.