Finance Globe

U.S. financial and economic topics from several finance writers.
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Imposter Scams

Imposter scams are growing in popularity among crooks.
For the first time, these scams made the top ten list of consumer complaints, according to the 2010 annual report released by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC warns consumers to be alert to scammers posing as people or organization they know and trust. They may use phone calls, emails, letters, faxes or even text messages in their attempt to trick you out of your money.

To avoid falling victim, be alert to these signs of an imposter scam:

They want you to wire money
Scammers often try to get you to wire money because it’s like sending cash. Once you send it, it’s gone for good - along with the crook who cheated you. The trick often associated with a wire money scam is that the con artist offers to send you a check and ask you to wire some of it back. The check will turn out to be fake - but they are often done so well that even a bank may take weeks to figure out that it’s a counterfeit check.

They claim you won a prize but must pay to collect your winnings
Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to pay to pay insurance, taxes, or shipping charges to claim what you’ve won. Con artists may claim they are with well-known companies such as Wal-Mart or Publishers Clearing House. No matter how good their reasons sound, never send money to collect a prize. And also be on alert when someone claims you won a sweepstakes you don’t remember entering.

They claim to be affiliated with a government agency
Tricksters may claim to be with familiar organizations to gain your trust, such as the FBI, FTC, IRS, U.S. Customs and Border Protection or the U.S. Marshals Service - but no government agency runs or supervises any sweepstakes. They might even use a real employee's name and their phone number may show up on your caller ID as coming from Washington, D.C.

They claim to be someone you personally know
They may claim to be a family member or friend in trouble who needs emergency money. The story could be that they are stuck in a foreign country, had a car break down, or need to be bailed out of jail. But in reality, it is a crook who hacked your friend’s email account or found out the name of someone in your family. Before sending any money, call a number that you know is genuine or get a hold of others in your circle to check out the story. Also ask the caller or email sender a few questions that a stranger would never know.

They want you to act right away
Scammers need you to give them the money before you have time to think of important questions or do any research on their story. They may tell you the offer has a strict time limit or that they will only be in your area for the day. Don’t let fast-talking con artist pressure you to make a decision immediately. If it’s the real deal, it will still be there when you’ve had time to think things through and decide, pressure-free, whether to proceed.


Source:
Federal Trade Commission
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Saturday, 19 October 2019

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