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You may have heard that a new wave of monetary scams has been on the rise. Scammers are always coming up with fresh ways to deprive you of your money. Read on to learn about recent scams that criminals have been using to target honest, hard working people. If you can identify certain red flags you can help keep yourself safe.
Suspicious Donation Requests. Scammers have been trying to take advantage of the geopolitical situation, and may try to get you to donate money to false charities. Beware of any charity that seems “pushy” or pressures you to send them money. Before you ever donate money, research the charity and make sure it can be verified. A site like Charity Navigator or Guide Star can help you make informed choices.
Fraudulent Account Info Requests. There has been a recent uptick in fraudsters contacting consumers to ask for bank account info, or to falsely alert them of suspicious activity. These requests may come in the form of automated phone messages, text messages, or emails. The sender may seem legit; often, the scammers will pretend to be a bank or other organization with whom you already have a relationship. If something seems “off” about a communication you receive, do not open it, click on any links, or reply. Instead, contact the institution directly and ask whether the message has come directly from them.
Gift Cards and check deposits. Beware of anyone that asks you to pay for goods or services with a gift card. Sanctioned and recognized businesses will never ask you to do this. Likewise, a legitimate company will never ask you to deposit a check they send you into your own account. Scammers may try this tactic in an effort to broach your bank account information. These checks are typically fake, and can compromise your bank account.
Rental scams. The rental market is especially busy right now, both with short-term, vacation rentals, and long-term leases. Before renting any property, investigate the listing carefully. These days, scammers have been taking real listings from rental websites, changing the contact information, and then listing them elsewhere. Make sure you communicate with the lister directly before committing, and don’t be pressured to send money without having seen the property. Finally, careful attention to the listing. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Technology Frausters. These scammers target vulnerable people, often the elderly, by pretending to be customer service employees. They reach out by phone, email, or text about an invented problem that they can “help” with. Preying on the victim’s trust, the scammer will attempt to get access to their personal and/or financial information. Remind your loved ones, especially older people, that legitimate customer service employees would not contact you directly to fix a technological glitch.
The U.S. government provides a variety of free resources to help you learn more about keeping yourself safe from scams. A great place to start is the Federal Trade Commission’s website at ftc.gov.
And remember, at Sharemoney, our top priority is always keeping you, and your money, safe!
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