In the past few years, the number of scams and scammers plaguing our lives has increased. Scammers are very clever and continue to prey on uninformed civilians. The following information was obtained from and provided by ConsumerFraudReporting.org. It lists ten scams that are commonly being attempted everyday across the U.S., scams you all should be aware of. Here is the list.
- Debt Collection: Most of the complaints under this category involve debt collectors. Consumers tell of receiving calls from harassing collectors who are threatening and will repeatedly call attempting to collect a debt. Other complaints that fall under this category involved credit/debit card fees, pay day loans, credit repair companies and unauthorized use of credit/debit cards. Some of these complaints involved hidden fees and billing disputes as well.
- Fake Government Officials: If you received an email, letter or phone call from a government agency (typically the IRS or FBI) and it instructs you to wire, Western Union or MoneyGram money someplace, or follow a link and enter 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 gain access to your confidential information, like social security numbers, date of birth and then use it to apply for credit cards, loans, and financial accounts. Typically, the victim receives an email that appears to be from a credible, real bank or credit card company, with links to a website and a request to update account information. But the website and email are fakes, made to look like the real website.
- Phone scams: This includes telemarketers violating the Do Not Call list, Robodialers, scammers calling up pretending to be from a bank or credit card company. The National Do Not Call Registry (U.S.) or the National Do Not Call List (Canada) offer consumers a free way to reduce telemarketing calls. Scammers call anyway, of course, and they’ve even found a way to scam consumers by pretending to be a government official calling to sign you up or confirming your previous participation on the Dot Not call list! A good example of this is the “Your Microsoft license key has expired” scam call – which you can hear and read about on this page.
- Loans scams / Credit Fixers: False promises of business or personal loans, even if credit is bad, for a fee upfront. Or a scam that promises to repair your credit for a fee.
- Fake Prizes, Sweepstakes, Free Gifts, Lottery scams: You receive an email claiming you won a prize, lottery, or gift, and you only must 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 winner’s via an email.
- Internet merchandise scams: You purchase something online, but it is either never delivered or it is not what they claimed it was 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: Car loans, car buying, car sales, auto repair, fake or useless extended warranties. Some of the complaints alleged consumers paid for repairs and that services provided were shoddy. Consumers reported repair companies that return vehicles to the consumer in a worse condition than how it was initially given to them. Other complaints involved consumers not receiving title to their vehicles at the time of sale.
- Credit Bureaus and related credit scams: Credit/debit card fees, pay day loans, credit repair companies and unauthorized use of credit/debit cards. Some of these complaints involved hidden fees and billing disputes as well.
- Phishing/Spoofing Emails: Emails that pretend to be from a company, organization or government agency but ask you to enter or confirm your personal information.
Authorities estimate that scamming is a billion-dollar industry. An industry where most of its victims do not recover any of their funds. Scammers success is predicated on our lack of knowledge and some scams are easier to detect than others. I say trust your gut feeling, if it does not feel right, then it’s probably not. Trust your instincts and be careful out there.
As always, never hesitate to call security at 561-627-1600, if you see something, say something. Report all suspicious people, activities, and vehicles. For all emergencies dial 911.