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 – Senior Emergency Scam
It’s every senior citizen’s nightmare: being trapped at home, injured, and unable to get help. That’s why there are some legitimate organizations that offer services for this exact scenario. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy for scammers to piggyback off of a known company name with a similar-sounding name, then cold call senior citizens and rip them off.
When you’re considering ordering any product or service from a salesman who reaches out to you by phone, email, or an old-fashioned mailer, be sure to check the source and verify the offer completely before you sign up or provide any kind of payment. If you can’t verify their company, do not provide any personal details.
#2 – High-End Brand-Name Scam
Look around the streets of any major city and you’ll likely see vendors selling “knock off” items like purses or suitcases. Sometimes the imitation is a pretty good counterfeit to the untrained eye, but other times they’re selling an item that doesn’t even try to mask itself as the real deal. Unfortunately, there’s another realm of scammers involved in counterfeit clothes and items, and they’re the ones who blatantly tell you that these items are the real thing.
Typically, the scammer’s story is that he’s in town for a trade show, fashion show, or other industry-only event, and that he acquired these goods at the show directly from the companies. The only problem is he got too many and will have to pay hefty tariffs and import taxes to take them home. He’s willing to sell you these “Armani” suits or “Gucci” purses for half their value in order to avoid that problem.
But they’re fakes. They were made in China in a counterfeiting factory, and would have cost you twenty bucks from the street vendors who sell these items openly. After all, that’s probably where the scammer bought them!
#3 – Car Donation Scam
There are legitimate charities that can take your old car, sell it for its value, and use the money to further the good work that they do. You get rid of an older model vehicle, you get a tax receipt for the donation in return, and a non-profit group gets to continue its important mission. It’s a great thing all around.
Unfortunately, there are many scams out there that pretend to sell the vehicle and donate the proceeds. By law, a certain percentage of the sale price must go to the charity, but even then the company is allowed to keep some for administrative costs. In too many cases, they simply pocket all of it and you didn’t really give your car to a charity. You’re actually holding a bogus tax receipt on top of it.
Whether it’s donating your car, your money, your time, or any other way that you invest of yourself in a charity, be sure to do your homework and verify that it’s a legitimately recognized non-profit that meets the government’s guidelines.
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.