In this digital age, scams and hacks are more prevalent than ever—and there’s one particular type you should be aware of: imposter scams. A scammer will call or email you pretending to be someone you trust and convince you to send them money. They play on your fears and their goal is to get you to act fast. Be leery of anyone that calls you on the phone asking you for your hard-earned money.
It’s important to be prepared for the most common scams listed below. These scams are the ones the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information Department warns against on their web site. The department includes videos about the scams so you can see first hand how these scam artists manipulate people into give.
Nanny and Caregiver Imposter Scams
Nanny and caregiving websites can be beneficial to many when looking for a job; however, it is important to remember not everyone is who they say they are. If you are ever asked to send money or buy large items for your employer before even meeting them, it is most likely a scam. Be careful who you give your information to on job websites!
IRS Imposter Scams
The real IRS will not contact you first by phone or email. Instead, they will send you snail mail and they won’t require a specific type of payment. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be with the IRS and making threats to sue, jail, or deport you if you don’t send them money, hang up immediately.
Tech Support Scams
Tech support scams are common. Someone will call pretending to be from a big company reporting that one of your devices has been hacked, but that might not be the case. Many times it’s a scammer looking to take your money for “tech support”—but they’re actually hoping to access your computer to steal information and/or infect your computer with malware. Major companies will not call you directly—hang up immediately.
Scammers have been targeting grandparents by pretending to be their grandkids. The grandparent will receive a call or email from their “grandchild” asking for money because they are in trouble, but insist their grandparent keep it a secret. If you receive a call from a supposed relative who is in trouble, it’s highly probable it’s a scammer. Hang up if the person on the other line does not sound like your grandchild, but claims they have a cold or sore throat.
Online Dating Scams
Online dating can be an easy way to get ripped off by a scammer. They build your trust because you form a relationship with them and then they ask for money for things like a ticket to see you or a medical bill. Be aware of who you are interacting with online and be skeptical if they ask for money.
Guest Blogger: Ann McGrail