Every day we hear about scammers and fraudsters trying to rip people off — from gas pump scammers to credit card scammers, from identity theft to Medicare fraud, from gutter installations to credit repair, these scam artists are everywhere. The list of potential swindles is endless. The practice of scamming people is not new – shyster sold snake oil as a cure-all.
Scammers are opportunists; Children, seniors well as people struggling to make ends meet, looking for a bargain, or hoping their luck is about to change are all vulnerable to ID theft. Child ID theft may go undetected for many years and will not be discovered until they are adults when applying for their own credit.
- You may receive a bill for items you did not purchase
- You receive debt collection calls for accounts you didn’t open
Even with all the media hype to raise awareness and educate people on how to protect your privacy and information, thousands of people continue to fall victim to these con artists.
The More Common Scams
Fraudulent information is used in scare tactics to gain access to your confidential information, such as your PIN was compromised. During chaotic periods, such as holidays and currently the coronavirus epidemic, fraudster activity increases. These scammers change their tactics often, using various means to defraud people, from phone calls to fake coupons to fake emails.
Charity scams – Fake charities always surface during disasters.
Stimulus and other government checks– Scammers call saying they’re with the IRS or other government agency and offer you a way to get the money early, asking for your personal information and try to charge you fake fees.
Banking Scams – These shysters call saying they are from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) or your bank and that your account has been locked, asking for your personal information to unlock it. Or you may receive an email or text message requiring you to verify your personal information.
Robocalls are just one example of telephone scams. They entice people with free products, offer to clean up poor credit, as well as opportunities to invest your money.
Investment Fraud is a Multi-Billion Dollar Scam
Whether you are a rookie or a seasoned investor, some of these schemes are so elaborate it is often hard to discern if they are genuine. Even people you may know may commit these types of fraud – and you only find out when you see it in the news.
Here are just a few examples of investment frauds:
- Affinity Fraud – target members of identifiable groups, such as the elderly, or religious or ethnic communities
- Advance Fee Fraud – this type of fraud ask investors to pay a fee in advance of receiving any stock, proceeds, warrants, or money
- High Yield Investment Programs – HYIPs – The signature of an HYIP scam is the promise of fantastical returns at little or no risk to the investor
- Ponzi Scheme – this scheme pays existing investors with funds collected from new investors, promising to generate high returns with little or no risk
- Pre-IPO Investment Scams – offers investors opportunities to buy pre-IPO shares of companies
- Pyramid Schemes – Similar to a Ponzi scheme with emphasis on recruiting and promises of high returns in a short amount of time.
Avoid Becoming a Victim
- Secure your internet connections
- Use security features
- Keep your personal information, such as your bank account numbers, Social Security number or any other sensitive information secure
- Verify the source of any suspicious emails
Remember: if you have a question or concerns about an investment, or you think you have become a victim of fraud, please contact our office at Aiman-Smith & Marcy today, for your free consultation. We are here to help.