Each week, the Identity Theft Resource Center works with some of the top industry experts to provide consumers with updates about threats to their personal data. Scam Detector leads the way by publishing a top ten list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each week, ones that are either new or on the rise. Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.
#1 – Postal Storage Fee
You receive an email that claims to be from the post office, informing you that the package you never came by to pick up has been waiting for you and that you now owe a storage fee for failing to retrieve it. The email goes on to ask you to verify your identity before you can claim your “mystery” package, and requests all types of highly sensitive personal data. You don’t even remember receiving a notice about a package, but are willing to comply by not only making payment through the link they provided but also handing over your personal identifiable information.
Remember that the Postal Service will never email you and ask for money or sensitive information. If you did, in fact, owe money to a government agency, you’ll receive a letter in the mail. After all, mailing letters is what they do!
#2 – Bank Draft Scam
With the power of the internet, more and more people are able to sell their own high-value items like cars or homes to a broader audience of potential buyers. That means a man halfway across the country could genuinely want to buy your car.
Savvy consumers are sure to demand payment in secured ways, such as a cashier’s check or bank draft, but counterfeit cashier’s checks make it all too easy for the scammer to make off with your car while leaving you holding a bogus piece of paper. If you’re selling a high-dollar item, consider going to the bank with the buyer to verify the authenticity of the cashier’s check, especially if he offers another popular version of this scam in which he presents a cashier’s check for more than the amount and asks you to provide cash back.
#3 - Repair Your Credit Scam
If you’re like the millions of Americans who have a little too much debt hanging over them, you might be tempted to fall for a scam that claims to “fix your credit” for a fee. Online pop up ads for this service are abundant, but all they can do for you is take your money and offer you nothing in return.
Don’t be misled, though; there are legitimate credit counseling services—often provided through government programs and therefore free for consumers—that can set up a system for you to correct your credit. This system will include consolidating debt, instructing you on how to pay off high interest accounts first, and possibly even working with your creditors to lower your interest rate. But anyone who claims to “erase” your bad credit or create a new credit score for you is a scammer.
For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit Scam-Detector.com or the ITRC website under the Current Scams & Alerts section. Be sure to share this information with others so they can stay informed and protect themselves.