Scam, as defined by Merriam-Webster dictionary, is a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation. For example, someone calls claiming you have defaulted on a loan and will be arrested unless you immediately wire as much as $2,000 to them. Recent economic events, including layoffs, have resulted in many individuals falling behind on loans and other types of debt. Scammers use these situations to take advantage of those who have been a victim of these unfortunate circumstances. There has been an increase in the number of telephone scams, as well as, email scams.
Other situations which generally involve a scam include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Someone you do not know asks you to send money and keep it a secret.
- A family you may know claims to be traveling and asks you to send money so they can get back home. Generally, the communication will say they were a victim of theft.
- An online seller or buyer insists you wire money to them or a third party.
If you’ve been subject to any of these situations, here are some tips to handle them:
- Ask the caller to provide official documentation verifying the debt. If they don’t already have your address, they probably aren’t the lender they claim to be. You have every right under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act to ask the caller (whether legitimate or scam) not to contact you via telephone. Insist that they contact you by mail.
- Do NOT provide or confirm any personally identifiable information. That includes bank account, credit card, mailing address information. Typically a scammer will already have a few bits of your personal information and only need a bit more to do significant damage to your finances, credit report, etc.
- You should report any suspicious call or mail to the Federal Trade Commission by calling (877) 382-4357 or visiting their website at www.ftc.gov.
Lately, I’ve heard of many individuals falling victim to various scams and losing large sums of money. Please do not become a victim of these scammers. Scammers will attempt to scare you with any tactic to get you to respond to them in the desired manner. Just do NOT do it.
If you are promised money for doing nothing, it’s likely a scam. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links on this blog are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I might receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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