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Scams to Watch Out For in 2019

Posted on May 14, 2019

Trust plays a key role in our society. You trust that your employer will pay you for your work. You believe that your friend will keep your secrets confidential. We hope that our loved ones trust us with their troubles they need help with.

Sadly, we can’t openly trust everybody. There are Nigerian princes looking for cash, fake IRS agents demanding iTunes gift cards, and your Facebook friend who you just saw yesterday asking for money because they are stranded in South Africa . But not every scam is easy to spot like these example just listed. To help you stay protected, we’ve gathered some of the newer, and more subtle, scams you need to watch out for.

The One Ring Phone Call


a frustrated old man on a cell phoneYour phone rings once, then hangs up. It shows up as a missed call on your phone. Maybe you are expecting a phone call, or just curious who is calling you. You hit dial on your phone and end up making a long distance phone call to an Eastern European country. Now, you have to pay a long distance fee and the scammer gets a portion of the money.

If you do end up getting a one ring phone call, or a phone call from a number you don’t recognize that has an unexpected area/country code, don’t call them back. If it’s an actual business, they’ll leave a message or call you again.

Crowdfunding and Fundraiser Scams


young man looking at a laptop and running his fingers through his hair in frustrationDonating money so somebody less fortunate can buy a car, helping pay for a cute dog’s surgery, or dropping a few dollars for a budding entrepreneur to get their business started are all ways crowdfunding is a huge part of today’s world. It’s a way for people to pay for very expensive things with the help of others.

The problem is, many scammers use crowdfunding to take advantage of the kindness of others. The “dog” you gave $30 to for surgery maybe doesn’t exist and the money went straight into somebody’s pocket. That board game you thought was so cool and gave $200 for a collector’s version of doesn’t get made and you’re left with nothing.

Before you ever donate money to a crowdfund or a fundraiser, do some research. Look at who is behind the campaign and if they have any previous history with these kind of things. If they have, did they reach their goal, did they use the money for what they said they would, and were all the reasons behind asking for money good? Was there proof that Fluffy the dog actually got the surgery, or did the owner go silent and used the money to buy a new TV?

If there isn’t enough proof, ask for it. Get photos and videos, official statements from trusted third parties, and progress updates. If they aren’t willing to provide it, likely it’s a scam to get a few bucks off of you.

Phishing Emails Pretending to be Real Businesses


woman laying in the grass wearing a fake mustache and glasses maskA phishing email is where a scammer sends an email that is made to look like an official communication from a business or organization. Common phishing scams target people by pretending to be Netflix, Amazon, Microsoft, or even the U.S. government and hope to trick them into believing the email is real.

Often, these emails pretend something is wrong and you need to fix it immediately. A Netflix phishing email might say the card on your account isn’t working and you need to login to update it. They'll have a link to click that takes you to a site that resembles Netflix and asks you to log in and update your account.  If you fall for it, your giving the scammer your login info, your credit card numbers, and other private info. A phishing email from the IRS might even try to get your social security numbers and bank account info.

There are a couple of tricks to help you identify a phishing email from the real thing. First, do they use your real name, or do they avoid it? Some phishing emails will just act like your email address is your name, or just skip it entirely. Next, look at the email it was sent from and if that aligns with who they pretend to be. The end of the email might not be netflix.com but instead netflix.co, netflix.biz or even netflix.support.

If you ever think an email to be fake, reach out to the company to make sure. Don’t reply back to the phishing email, but instead contact their support team through chat, a new email, or a phone call. They’ll know for sure if the email is real or not and can help you further.

Dating App Scammers: Breaking Your Heart and Your Credit


sad woman with hands over her mouthYou’re looking for love, and they’re looking for your personal information. Scammers are everywhere in many dating apps, all trying to take advantage of people any way they can. Spotting a good scammer can be tricky, but knowing their tactics can go a long way in staying safe.

Many questions people ask in order to get to know each other are also commonly used security questions. Scammers might ask, “Where did you grow up? What high school did you go to? Did you have any pets growing up and what were their names? What was the make and model of your first car?” All common security questions people use. With enough personal information, a scammer could potentially infiltrate your social media or email account.

Another tactic scammers use is getting you off of the dating app as quick as possible and to use a different means of contact. That could be email, texting, or even a different chatting software they created. That way, it’s easier to send you malware to infect your devices or trick you for more info.

To protect your heart and your identity, be extremely protective of any and all personal info people online ask for and don’t move your conversation out of the app until you’ve actually met them or gotten proof they are real.

Keep Yourself Protected in Case You Get Scammed
 

A scammer’s main goal is to get your personal and financial information so they can steal from you. That includes stealing your identity, using your credit cards, ruining your credit score, or even trying to take money directly out of your account.

Nobody is 100% protected from scammers. While it’s easy to point and laugh at the Nigerian prince email asking for money, scammers are getting better at what they do. That’s why it’s important to have something protecting yourself in case you become the victim of fraud or identity theft.

Pioneer’s ID Theft Protection can go a long way to getting your life back if you do fall prey to a scammer. By working with a identity recovery professional, you can fully secure your identity, work on getting control of your credit, and fix any damages caused.

Learn More About ID Theft Protection!   

 

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