Look out for signs that you are being stalked by Fraud-sters.
As technology advances, so do the tactics of scammers, making it essential to remain vigilant. While some communications are genuine, scammers are adept at exploiting these channels to defraud individuals. Here are some prevalent fraud attempts to watch out for and how they can be used to swindle money:
- TEXTS FROM STRANGERS: Responding to texts from unknown numbers might seem polite, but it can open the door to fraud. Instead, delete the text and label it as junk to prevent further contact. Avoid engaging, even to clarify an apparent mistake.
- NETFLIX or OTHER ACCOUNT SUSPENSION TEXTS: Emails or texts claiming your Netflix or streaming service account is suspended can be alarming. Instead of reacting impulsively, access your account directly via the official website. Avoid clicking on links or calling numbers provided in the message, as these are attempts to steal personal information.
- CAR WARRANTY OFFERS: Scammers exploit concerns about hefty car repair bills by offering worthless car warranties. Be cautious of unsolicited phone calls or mail pitches. Some groups have been shut down by regulators, but others persist.
- FAKE BUSINESS EMAILS: Beware of emails posing as reputable companies like Amazon or Walmart, alleging suspicious purchases on your account. Avoid responding or using provided contact information. Instead, log in directly on the company’s official website or call their verified customer service number.
- GIFT CARD SCAMS: Scammers prefer gift cards due to fewer buyer protections and irreversible transactions. Be wary if asked to pay via gift card codes—it’s likely a scam. The FTC reported $228 million lost in gift card scams in 2022.
- SOCIAL MEDIA FRIEND REQUESTS: Exercise caution with new friend requests, particularly from strangers on platforms like Facebook. Declining requests from unknown individuals can prevent potential scams seeking personal information.
- POP-UP ADS: These sudden ads often contain malware. Avoid clicking unless certain of their legitimacy and association with a trusted website.
- COMPUTER VIRUS ALERTS: Scammers use virus alerts to deceive individuals. Never call listed numbers or click provided links. Seek reputable computer tech support if necessary.
- PHONE CALLS FROM SIMILAR NUMBERS: Scammers spoof caller IDs to resemble familiar numbers or institutions. Let suspicious calls go to voicemail. Federal agencies won’t request sensitive details over the phone.
- QR CODE SCAMS FOR CRYPTO ATMs: Scammers send QR codes, directing victims to cryptocurrency ATMs. Once scanned and payment made, the money is irretrievable. Exercise extreme caution with such instructions.
Remaining cautious and informed about these fraud attempts is crucial in safeguarding against financial scams. If in doubt, verify directly with legitimate sources to protect yourself and your finances.
This blog was adapted from the AARP Bulletin October 2023 Issue. Article ‘A Visual Guide to Fraud.’
View the AARP Article here.