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. One group, 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 gaining in popularity. Take a look at some of their more recent top scams or fraud attempts.
#1 – Make Money from Home Scam
Of course we’d all love to make our current income while sitting around the house in our pajamas, but many of the work-from-home scams are marketed specifically to working mothers because the thieves believe these women are more likely to fall for it. After all, the web ads will include testimonials, articles supposedly published in major newspapers, and more, so who wouldn’t risk $15 for a sales kit if it means keeping your little ones out of day care and providing for your family at the same time?
Unfortunately, that $15 investment isn’t even a drop in the bucket. The fine print means you just dropped hundreds of dollars in “membership fees” which the company just charged to your credit card. If you try to contact them to get your money back, you’re going to find that the process is a full time job by itself!
Remember, there are actually legitimate careers that you can do from home, but you MUST do your homework and remember that no one is going to pay you to do something an automated piece of software could do for free. If it sounds too good to be true…
#2 – Caller ID Scam
You receive a phone call from a person, company, utility, or other organization, but how do you know who’s really calling? It’s on your caller ID, of course. But since caller IDs are easily customized, you have absolutely no way of knowing who’s actually calling you. You might even receive a phone call from yourself, based on the number on the screen! Scammers can easily manipulate the information on the phone to appear to be anyone they choose, but unfortunately, it’s this trust in technology that makes us vulnerable to scams.
First, if anyone ever calls you and requests money, hang up. No legitimate business transaction will take place where the company calls YOU and requests payment, especially not over the phone. If there’s even a chance that there’s some validity to it, just end the call and contact the company yourself using an established phone number. But second, if a caller ever tells you that you can trust him because the number came up on your caller ID, that’s all you need to hear. Hang up immediately; a genuine representative of a company would be able to provide you with not only a phone number to call yourself, but an employee number or some other form of verification.
#3 – Parking Ticket Scam
There are two ways these scams work, either by placing an actual paper ticket on your windshield (which is riskier
as the scammer has to be physically present) or by emailing you a notice from the police department claiming that you have an unpaid parking ticket. In either case, you’ll be directed to a website to pay online by credit card for your convenience.
It can be scary to receive notice from a law enforcement agency, even if you know you didn’t do anything wrong, and that’s exactly what the scammers are counting on. If you ever receive a ticket or an email like this, remember to verify its authenticity BEFORE paying anything… the website the scammers are sending you to obviously takes you money, and may not only take it that one time. Even worse, once you pay they can turn around and reuse your credit card info or even sell it.
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.
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