The holiday season is upon us and, unfortunately, this is when the most fraud/scams occur. There are many different types of fraud, with more popping up every day. Here are some common scams to familiarize yourself with and protect yourself against.
- Phone swindlers- Scammers call claiming to be tech-support, bill collectors, sweepstakes/lottery personnel, or even grandchildren and other close relatives. These scammers’ typical goal is to get you to reveal personal information (so they may steal your identity) or to get you to send them money.
- IRS threats- Scammers call and say you owe back taxes and they must be paid immediately. (The IRS does not call and demand money over the phone!)
- Scare Tactics- Scammers threaten arrest, lawsuits or financial ruin if you don’t follow their instructions.
- Charity scams- The payee organization’s name is similar to, but not exactly the same as, those of reputable charities. Alternatively, the charity requests funds via money transfer services– generally; legitimate charities do not solicit donations via money transfer services.
- Benefits fraud- Occurs when fraudsters apply for assistance benefits to which they are not entitled. Scammers request a withdrawal, funds are wired into an account, and then the fraudster immediately withdraws the funds.
- Mystery Shopping scams- individuals sign up to mystery shop for companies, are “given” money to purchase goods/services from these companies and then told to send excess funds back they didn’t spend. Alternatively, individuals are asked to rate their experience at various businesses, but they have to give the company their bank information in order to receive their direct deposit.
- The offer seems too good to be true.
- They want personal information such as your social security number, date of birth, and address.
- Payment is requested by wire transfer and/or prepaid cash cards. (These are fast and virtually untraceable ways to steal your money).
- You sell something of value, are given a check for too much and required to send some back.
- You “won” money or goods but need to pay tax/shipping up front, before you receive the item.
Regrettably, these scams happen everywhere. Please be vigilant and aware this holiday season as we hate to see our members’ being penalized for being too trusting. If you ever have any questions or concerns regarding the legitimacy of a transaction, please contact local law enforcement, the Better Business Bureau, or us at 800-691-9299.