You’ve learned about the top 10 scams. Do you know there are many more? Here are the most common scams:
Fake check payments: You sell something online or through Craig's List Consumers, paid with phony checks, and instructed to wire money back to buyer. The check looks real ... but after you try to cash it, you find out it’s a fake.
Recovery/refund companies: A scammer contacts and claims you owe money on a debt, or the scammer offers to recover money lost in a previous scam.
Computer performance scams (equipment and software): Scammers claim to offer "technical support" for computer problems and charge a fee to fix nonexistent problems.
Scholarship, student loan and financial aid scams: For a fee, a "search company" offers to conduct a customized search for scholarships or grants for students to apply for. Scammers will either take the money and run or provide a worthless list.
Online dating scams: Scammers create fake profiles as attractive men and women, claiming they need money to help in an emergency. This is typically when they claim to be out of the country on a business trip.
Facebook fake friend scam: Did you ever get a friend request on Facebook from someone you already thought was your friend? If you hit accept, you may have just friended a scammer. Con artists build trust through online relationships and convince victims to send money.
Click-bait scam: This one takes many forms, but many people may recall seeing scams using Robin Williams’ death or the missing Malaysian Airlines plane. Other click-bait schemes use celebrity images, fake news, and other sensational stories to get you to unknowingly download malware.
Fake bills and invoices: You receive a bill that looks real for a product or service from a “real” company that you never ordered from.
Tech support scam: You get a call or a pop-up on your computer claiming to be from a legitimate tech company about a problem on your computer. They say if you give "tech support" access to your hard drive, they can fix it. Instead, they install malware on your computer and start stealing your personal information.
Medical alert scam: This is a telemarketing scam that targets seniors and caretakers promising a “free” medical alert system. The robocalls claim to offer medical alert devices and systems free of charge because a family member or friend had already paid for it. In many cases, seniors are asked to provide their bank account or credit card information to “verify” their identity and, as a result, are charged a monthly $35 service fee. The system, of course, never arrives and seniors are left with a charge they have trouble getting refunded. Be wary of “free” offers that require your personal information upfront and always verify with the supposed friend or family member the caller says paid for the service.
eBay®/auction reseller scam: Scammers pose as buyers to convince sellers to ship goods prior to receiving payment. Usually, the fake buyer claims it's an “emergency” like a child's birthday and asks the seller to ship the same day. The scammer sends a payment email posing as PayPal® to the seller.
Arrest warrant scam: Scammers create a fake caller ID, appearing to call from a local police, sheriff, or other law enforcement agency. They say there is a warrant out for your arrest, but that you can pay a fine to avoid criminal charges. These scammers don't take credit cards; only wire transfer services such as Western Union® and Moneygram®, or pre-paid debit card is accepted.
Invisible home improvements: In addition to email, mail and phone, scammers show up at your door. Scammers posing as home improvement contractors come door-to-door targeting seniors who live alone and victims of weather-related disasters.
Casting call scam: Scammers pose as agents or talent scouts looking for actors, singers, models, and reality show contestants, using phony audition notices to fool aspiring performers into paying for a tryout for parts that don't exist.
Foreign currency scam: Investments in foreign currency can sound like a great idea, and scammers frequently use current events and news stories to make their pitches more appealing. They advertise an easy investment with high return and low risk when you purchase foreign currency. When the foreign governments revalue their currencies increasing their worth against the dollar, you sell and cash in. Unlike previous hoaxes, you may even take possession of real currency. The problem is they will be very difficult to sell, and it's extremely unlikely they will ever significantly increase in value.
Scam text messages: It looks like a text alert from your bank, asking you to confirm your personal information or “reactivate your debit card” by following a link on your smartphone. It’s just a way to steal sensitive information.
Affordable Care Act scams: Scammers love the Affordable Care Act, using it to fool Americans into sharing their personal information.
Internet auction frauds: Auction frauds (commonly called eBay® or PayPal® scams) are a misrepresentation of a product advertised for sale or the failure to deliver products purchased through an Internet auction site.
Nigerian advance fee frauds (AFF): These frauds pose as an offer, via letter, email, or fax, to share a huge sum of money in return for using the recipient's bank account to transfer money out of the country. The perpetrators will often use the bank account details to empty their victim's bank account. Often, they convince the victim money is needed up front to pay fees or is needed to bribe officials.
Get rich scheme and scam websites: Get rich websites are scams, claiming to offer you a good deal. When in truth, the products are worthless, have no real secrets, and may be identity thieves.
FreeCreditReport.com: The name of the website is freecreditreport.com, but you'll only get a credit report when you sign up for their paid service. There is a government-mandated website where you can get a free credit report.
Work at home scams: Work-at-home and business opportunity scams are often advertised as paid work from home. After applying, they are asked for money up front to pay for materials and then they hear nothing back. A variation of this is scammers lure people to invest in a business that has little chance of success.
Matric and multilevel marketing schemes: Their websites say “make money now” or earn big bucks for almost no work. These schemes are promoted through websites offering expensive electronic gadgets as free gifts in return for spending about $25 on an inexpensive product, such as a mobile phone signal booster. Consumers who buy the product join a waiting list to receive their gift. The person at the top of the list receives a gift only after a prescribed number of new members join. The majority of those on the list will never receive the item.
Pyramid schemes: Pyramid schemes offer a return on a financial investment based on the number of new recruits. Investors are misled about the likely returns. There are simply not enough people to support the scheme indefinitely.
Property investment scams: Investors attend a free presentation to persuade them to hand over large amounts of money to enroll for a course promising to make them a successful property dealer, usually involving "no money down." Schemes may involve the offer of buying yet-to-be built properties at a discount. Other variations include a buy-to-lease scheme where companies offer to source, renovate, and manage properties, claiming good returns from rental income. The properties are generally abandoned.
900 phone number scams: In this scam, notification by mail of a sweepstakes win or holiday offer includes instructions to ring a premium rate number. This is generally a 900-toll number. Calls to the number incur significant charges, the recorded message is lengthy, and the prize often doesn’t exist. It’s a long-time running scam still in use.
Advance fee brokers: Often these appear to be professional operations with attractive websites and advertisements. However, it’s illegal for a business to charge a fee prior to providing a loan. Typically, after wiring money to the scammer, the victim never receives the loan. These “lenders” will use fake physical addresses or the addresses of real companies.
Credit repair services with advance fees: Consumers with bad credit ratings are particularly vulnerable to this scam. Everything a credit-repair operation offers an individual can do it for little to no cost. Credit-repair operations can’t ask for money in advance and can’t automatically remove legitimate negative reports from your credit history.
Foreign lottery scams: Any lottery from a foreign country is illegal in the United States. Stating a person can win or is a winner already provides a strong incentive; however, people should never send money to obtain lottery money. Scammers using fictitious addresses will request you send “fees and taxes” to them through a wire service, take the cash and never provide any winnings.
Office supplies – Sale by deceptive telemarketing: In this scam, businesses are sent fake invoices for a couple hundred dollars’ worth of office supplies. This relatively low amount makes it easier for company personnel to quickly sign off and feel it’s not worth their time to check the invoice's validity.
The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with Adirondack Bank. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. Adirondack Bank is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the information provided or the content of any third-party sites that might be hyperlinked from this page. The information is not intended to replace manuals, instructions or information provided by a manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional, or to affect coverage under any applicable insurance policy. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. Adirondack Bank makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.