In 2021, the Federal Trade Commission received more than 2.8 million fraud reports from consumers. Data shows that consumers lost more than $5.8 billion to fraud and scams. Can you spot a scam when you see it? Here are the top 10 scams you should know:
- Debt collection: Most of the complaints involve debt collectors. Consumers receive calls from harassing collectors who threaten and repeatedly call to collect a debt. Other complaints involve credit/debit card fees, pay day loans, credit repair companies, and unauthorized use of credit/debit cards. Some of these complaints also involve hidden fees and billing disputes.
- Fake government officials: If you received an email, letter, or phone call from a government agency instructing you to wire money or follow a link to enter personal information, don't believe it. The U.S. government would never instruct anyone to use those methods to pay any bill or carry out a financial transaction, particularly with an overseas bank or agency.
- Identity theft, phishing, and pharming: Scammers can gain access to your confidential information, like Social Security numbers and date of birth. They use it to apply for credit cards, loans, and financial accounts. Typically, the victim receives an email that appears to be from a credible bank or credit card company to request an update to account information.
- Phone scams: This includes telemarketers violating the Do Not Call list as robocalls or posing as a representative from a bank or credit card company. The National Do Not Call Registry (U.S.) offer consumers a free way to reduce telemarketing calls. Scammers found a means to scam consumers by pretending to be government officials to sign you up or to confirm your previous participation on the Do Not Call list.
- Loans scams/credit fixers: These scams offer false promises of business or personal loans, even if credit is bad, for a fee upfront.
- Fake prizes, sweepstakes, free gifts, and lottery scams: You receive an email claiming you’ve won a prize, lottery, or gift. You only must pay a "small fee" to claim it or cover "handling costs." Unsolicited email or telephone calls tell people they are entered or have already been entered into a contest. Later, they receive a call congratulating them on winning a substantial prize in a national lottery. Before they can claim their prize, they are told they must send money to pay for administration fees and taxes. The prize does not exist.
- Internet merchandise scams: You purchase something online, but it is never delivered, not what was ordered, or is defective. Online shopping and other shop from home such as catalog, mail and phone shopping scams are on the rise.
- Automobile-related complaints: Some of the complaints allege consumers paid for repairs and are provided shoddy service. Consumers report that repair companies return vehicles in a worse condition than how it was initially given to them. Other complaints involve consumers not receiving title to their vehicles at the time of sale.
- Credit bureaus and related credit scams: Complaints regarding credit/debit card fees, pay day loans, credit repair companies, and unauthorized use of credit/debit cards involve hidden fees and billing disputes.
- Phishing/spoofing emails: Emails that pose as a company, organization or government agency ask you to enter or confirm your personal information.
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.