Top Financial Scams To Steer Clear From
According to newly released Federal Trade Commission data, consumers reportedly lost nearly $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022, a more than 30 percent increase from 2021. Among the most commonly reported cases of fraud include imposter scams, online shopping scams, prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries scams, and business and job opportunity scams. Our team at Legacy Bank serves customers across the state, with physical locations in Wichita, Colwich, Pratt, and Sedgwick, Kansas, and works hard to keep our customers safe from fraud. Learn more about the top modern-day fraud tactics and how to avoid these scams!
Imposter Scams or Government Impersonators
When it comes to fraud, scammers are likely to use elaborate stories that play on your emotions in an attempt to gain trust. The most common type of financial scam, known as government impersonation or imposter scams, consists of fake phone calls from individuals claiming to be affiliated with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration, or Medicare. Many times, they will try to convince the victim that they have remaining unpaid taxes or will lose their Social Security or Medicare benefits if they cannot provide proper identification information. Imposters often demand specific payment forms like wire transfers, cash, or prepaid debit cards. Even if you think the phone number you’re receiving a call from is a valid source, don’t do anything hasty and contact the specific governmental agency to ensure the credibility of the call.
Common Scenario Phone Call: “I’m with the IRS, and you owe back taxes. If not paid immediately, a lawsuit will be filed against you.”
Lottery and Sweepstakes Scams
You’re probably already familiar with sweepstakes scams—scammers calling potential victims to inform them they’ve won the lottery or some sweepstakes. But, if the individual wishes to claim their winnings, they must first send a specified amount of money up front to cover the “taxes and processing fees.” No matter how well-established you believe the organization is, whether it be from Publishers Clearing House or another well-known entity, never send money in an attempt to claim lottery or sweepstakes winnings. If you have won a legitimate prize or sweepstakes, you should never be required to send money up front!
Common Scenario Message: “Congratulations! You’ve won the lottery! We will need to collect taxes prior to your payment. I will send you the instructions to get this done.”
When it comes to investment scams, scammers will offer low-risk financial investments with guaranteed returns. Some of the most common forms of investment scams include the use of cryptocurrency and digital assets like Bitcoin.
Common Scenario Email: “You’ve registered to receive notifications on investment opportunities. Are you ready to invest? I have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!”
Technical Support Scams
If you receive a pop-up message or advertisement appearing on your computer, alerting you that your device is damaged and to call the listed support number for help immediately, do not proceed any further! Technical support scams target older individuals with less knowledge about cybersecurity and technology. Once a victim calls the listed support number, scammers can gain access to your bank account, computer, home equity line of credit, and everything in between!
Common Scenario Pop-Up: “We’ve detected malware on your computer. Let’s get that fixed for you. There will be a small cost associated to make your computer secure.”
The “Sweetheart” Scam
Con artists are continuously seizing the opportunity to prey upon older adults, specifically through romance scams. With more people resorting to online dating in the digital age, romance scammers will create fake profiles on social media to bait lonely adults into sending money for “visas, medical emergencies, travel expenses,” and more.
Common Scenario Facebook Message: “I want to meet you in person, but I can’t afford to travel. Can you send me money?”
The “Grandparent” Scam
Similar to this “sweetheart scam,” the grandparent scam preys upon victims’ hearts, with scammers calling victims and claiming to be their grandchildren. Once the scammer can gain the victim’s trust, they will request money to help solve some urgent financial situation, such as car repairs or past-due rent. If you believe your grandchild may be in genuine trouble, hang up the phone and call their personal phone number to ensure they are okay!
Common Scenario Phone Call: “Grandma, I’m in trouble— I need money fast.”
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