Scammers may try to take advantage of you. They might get in touch by phone, email, postal mail, text, or social media. Banking scams involve attempts to access your bank account. Protect your money and your identity. Don't share personal information like your bank account number, Social Security number, or date of birth.
Common Scams Include:
- Overpayment scams- Someone sends you a check, instructs you to deposit it in your bank account, and wire part of the money back to them. But the check was fake, so you’ll have to pay your bank the amount of the check, plus you’ll lose any money you wired.
- Unsolicited check fraud- A scammer sends you a check for no reason. If you cash it, you may be authorizing the purchase of items or signing up for a loan you didn’t ask for.
- Automatic withdrawals- A scam company sets up automatic withdrawals from your bank account to qualify for a free trial or to collect a prize.
- Phishing- You receive an email message that asks you to verify your bank account or debit card number.
- Scam Text Messages- It looks like a text alert from your bank, asking you to confirm information or 'reactivate your debit card' by following a link on your smart phone. But it is just a way to steal personal information.
Fake Prizes, Sweepstakes, Free Gifts, Lottery
You receive an email claiming you won a prize, lottery, or gift, and you only have to pay a "small fee" to claim it or cover "handling costs". These include scams which can go under the name of genuine lotteries like the UK National Lottery and the El Gordo Spanish lottery. Unsolicited email or telephone calls tell people they are being entered or have already been entered into a prize draw. Later, they receive a call congratulating them on winning a substantial prize in a national lottery. But before they can claim their prize, they are told they must send money to pay for administration fees and taxes. The prize, of course, does not exist. No genuine lottery asks for money to pay fees or notifies its winners via email.
Emails that pretend to be from a company, organization or government agency but ask you to enter or confirm your personal information.
Fake Check Payments
You sell something online or through Craig's List Consumers and you're 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 is a fake.
Scammers claim to offer "technical support" for computer problems and charge a fee to fix nonexistent problems.
Fake profiles of scammers posing as attractive men and women, then claiming they need money to help in an emergency, typically when they claim to be out of the country on a business trip.
Social Media Fake Friend
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 artist nurtures an online relationship, builds trust, and convinces victim to send money.
In addition to email, mail and phone, scammers now just show up at your door. Scammers posing as home improvement contractors come door-to-door sale and target seniors, those who live alone, and victims of weather-related disasters are common targets.
Work at Home
Work-at-home and business opportunity scams are often advertised as paid work from home. After the would-be worker applies, they are asked for money up-front to pay for materials and, after paying, they hear nothing back. A variation of this is people are asked to invest in a business that has little chance of success.
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 personally at little or no cost. Credit repair operations cannot ask for money in advance, and they cannot automatically remove legitimate negative reports from your credit history.
Ticket selling scams happen when a scammer uses tickets as bait to steal your money. The scammer usually sells fake tickets, or you pay for a ticket, but never receive it. They are common when tickets for popular concerts, plays, and sporting events sell out.
Telephone scammers try to steal your money or personal information. Scams may come through phone calls from real people, robocalls, or text messages. Callers often make false promises, such as opportunities to buy products, invest your money, or receive free product trials. They may also offer you money through free grants and lotteries. Some scammers may call with threats of jail or lawsuits if you don’t pay them.
- FDIC and banking - People pretend to call from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or your bank. They say your bank account or your ability to get cash are in danger and ask for your personal information.
- Grandparent and military service member scams - A scammer pretends to be a grandchild or a military service member. They say they're sick or in trouble because of the coronavirus. They contact you asking to wire them money to pay for fake medical or travel expenses.
- COVID-19 funeral assistance scam - Scammers pretend to be from FEMA's COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program and call to offer program registration to family members of people who have died from COVID-19. In this way, the scammers can steal the family members' Social Security numbers and other forms of identification.