Nowadays with easy access to the internet, scammers are in every corner of our current life trying to steal our money, our identity, and even our private life.
In my humble post, I will try to discuss a few common scams and schemes most of us probably, have been through or heard about them and then I will show you how to avoid them.
I am very sure there are a lot of scams if not ton of them out there, but the reasons I want to focus only on 5 top scams and frauds is because they are very common and the majority of people are facing them on daily basis.
Here are my 5 top common scams and schemes I personally suggest to avoid immediately, and my tips on how to get rid of them.
5 Top common scams and Schemes:
- Identity theft
- Housing scams
- Phone calls
- IRS scams
- Pyramids schemes
Before I start talking about what type of help you will get if you are involved in scams and frauds. I have one piece of advice I want to share with you is please try to report any scams immediately to the closest agencies or the phone numbers of the authorities concerned, I will make sure to mention below within this blog couple phone numbers and the website you can use.
This is the best way to stop scammers from doing this and help others not to get ripped off as well.
Let’s start then,
Identity theft is when someone steals your personal information and uses it to commit fraud like applying for a credit card under your own information, get medical services, or even file taxes with it.
If this happens to you, you will be probably victim and you will receive bills for items you didn’t buy, you may get denied for a loan application and definitely, you may, as well, get calls from debt agencies for an account you did not open.
There are several types of Identity theft you should be aware of :
Medical Identity theft, as I mentioned above: someone will steal your medical records or your health insurance information to send you fake bills.
Another type of Identity theft is called: Tax Identity theft is when someone steals your SNN( Social security number)to falsify file tax returns with IRS.
Well, once you noticed that your Identity is at risk, and something is going wrong .You should immediately call your bank and close all your accounts and have them start the investigation on what is missing on your accounts.
Secure your social security card in a safe place and NEVER give your number over the phone.
Shred receipts, account statements, and expired credit cards to prevent dumpster stealers from getting your personal information.
Don’t share your personal information over the phone such as your bank account, your birthdate.
Set up a complex and hard to guess password for all your accounts.
Make sure to review your credit cards and bank statements and compare your receipts with your account statements.
If you encounter one of these identity thefts aspects happens to you, Immediately report the incident by calling: 1877-438-4338 or to Federal Trade Commission(FTC).
You can also report it online at www.Identitytheft.gov.
Another aspect of scams and frauds is called: Housing scams.
In order to avoid this type of scams and frauds, you should be aware of major signs and rip-offs actions scammers are using so you can be alert, for example :
- If you face any financial problems on making payments for your home and thinking of foreclosure options, never have to pay any upfront fees for foreclosure or prevention counseling if you have been asked to.
- Don’t answer emails and phone calls soliciting for financial information because housing counselors do not request personal financial information over the phone or by e-mail. Thus any loan modification any documents requested should be collected and signed in person.
- Stop making mortgage payment advice is A Scam: a legitimate housing counseling agency will never tell you to stop making a payment or transfer the payment to the agency instead of the lender if you are paying your mortgage. So be careful. If this happens to you, you should contact your lender and a HUD-approved housing counseling agency as soon as you can (US department of housing and urban development).
- Signing your house paperwork under pressure is a big alert: a legitimate counselor will never offer you to fill out the paperwork for you nor will you never rush you through signing in paperwork. Scammers will put pressure on you and have you sign the loan paperwork without reading all terms and conditions of getting a loan or making modifications to your purchase agreement.
If you believe that you are facing one of the above scams acts, please don’t hesitate to a HUDapproved agency in your area. or call the national hotline number at 1888-95-Hope.
Avoid working with anyone who will not meet you in person to see the property.
Phone calls scams:
Many of us may receive, randomly, weird calls once a while, asking for personal information or want to provide help, any help you can imagine.
Telephone scammers may use real people, text messages, and robocalls to steal money and personal information, for instance, scammers tend to use:
You will get a call from a scammer identifying himself as an employee from the IRS, don’t freak out ok. That happens to me a couple of times as well. If someone claims to be an IRS agent and asking you to collect money, hung up the phone and don’t give him any further information ok.
Another thing, you may also get calls from scammers pretending they are calling from your bank asking for your bank accounts, if it’s your bank, they should confirm, first your identity to protect your account, if it is not the case, ignore the call.
Recently, Robocalls are the best trap scammers are trying to use. Don’t let the curiosity gets the best of you and call back numbers who you didn’t answer, especially, if they look unfamiliar to you because calling back those numbers verify that your number belongs to a real person, so scammers will call you back again and again until they get what they want from you.
Action: Don’t answer anonymous calls, because if it is important, the caller will leave you a message.
Elderly people scams:
We hear this scam a lot, when scammers call grandma or grandpa pretending to be their grandchild, telling them they are in big trouble, they lost their wallets, especially if they are in a foreign country, so scammers ask them to send money to a specific location.
Please, Grandma or Grandpa, don’t send anything and just hung up the phone, thanks.
According to IRS: Thousands of people have lost millions of dollars and their personal information due to tax scams. Scammers use the regular mail, telephone, or email to set up individuals, businesses, payroll, and tax professionals to get to their target.
We hear, always, either on TV, radio, or even on social media platforms about calls from IRS agents requesting people for personal information, most calls are Robocalls or automated calls that request a callback.
When you return calls, the scammers will request personal information like social security numbers or other personal information such as birthdate, etc.
The automated calls request tax payments in the form of I tunes or other gift cards and pretending to be from the tax preparation industry.
Scammers spoof their phone numbers to make it look like from the IRS.
How to report tax-related schemes scams?
Well, after I did my researches, I found out that the IRS NEVER contact people for personal information or asking them to make payments of their unpaid taxes over the phone.
Please listen to this video from an IRS employee to understand how to deal with tax scammers
Even if you owe money to the IRS, the government shall give you an opportunity to appeal the amount you owe.
So relax, The IRS will never send you someone threatens you to arrest you because you didn’t pay your taxes. However, what they do is send you a letter with a real IRS logo that has details of all your personal information, and explaining any issue does has to be with your taxes BUT they will never send emails.
Tip: If you get a random email saying it is from the IRS, well it’s not, because they will never send you an email nor call you on your phone, you need to be more cautious dealing with strange emails and phone calls.
PYRAMID SCHEMES :
What is a pyramid scheme?
A pyramid scheme is another scam based on recruiting more participants to a particular business, these types of businesses are marked as MLM ( Multi-Level Marketing) programs.
Without recruiting, the Pyramid scheme collapses so easily and fails.
There are a lot of legitimate businesses that rely on using on pyramid scheme style business, they have their own tools and products their recruiters trust and use to get more participants but they have to be so hard on sales and use different pitch sales tactics to be able to get more members and eventually get paid.
Personally, I don’t recommend this kind of business to anybody, for one reason, I hate to sell products and physical items which I don’t believe it’s profitable for a long term period.
Pyramid scheme businesses charge huge money to sell their product that why you need to be a hard sell to get your money from the participants. You need to recruit people to do the same and know how you can make others to pay a huge amount, like this one below, in order for you to make money and so on.
Here an example of Pyramid scheme products sold by a particular business online :
Unlike Affiliate Marketing business online, you pay a monthly fee to learn how to start your online business step by step and you can cancel your membership whenever you like and you don’t have to regret paying a huge amount of money like :$2997.
Those businesses, most of them, won’t last long, see for example:
Empower Network an MLM business, they don’t have a strong foundation, don’t have real customer services support, don’t have a community to ask any questions anytime. Even the owners, you will never have access to them. period.
So how can you invest your money on such business where there is a lack of almost everything, even most of their websites have no information, no email or phone numbers to contact.
My advice is you should be very skeptical of success stories and testimonials of fanatics earnings.
And remember to check out any business you want to sign up with first with BBB ( Better Business Bureau).
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Now I after I mentioned my 5 top scams and frauds we mostly face every day, I can conclude with some tips on how to avoid these scams and not to get be ripped off.
How to avoid these scams and Schemes?
If you ever find yourself in one of those positions above, here what you should:
- Don’t provide your credit card number or your personal information to any caller over the phone.
- Don’t rush and take immediate action.
- Hung up on suspicious phone calls.
- If the caller starts to ask you: ‘Can you hear me’ don’t say yes if so he will record your answer as “yes” to use it as proof that you agreed to use your credit card for a purchase.
- Don’t send money or gift cards to the callers even they threaten you of jail.
- Report telephone scams to the Federal Trade Commission online at 1877-382-4357.
I hope that” how to avoid scams and schemes guide” was very effective and has a lot of satisfying answers for people who are struggling against a few of the above common scams and frauds on a daily basis.
However, there are more scams you should be aware of and stay away from so you can’t get ripped offs.
In addition to those scams, here are few you should pay attention to:
Fake charities scams
Lottery and sweepstakes scams
Job& Employment scams
Please, I want to hear from you and if you have any questions or additional scams you want to share please feel free to do so below in the comment section.
Thank you so much for stopping by.
Still, have questions?
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