Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has literally changed the world, and we don’t just mean in the development of the social media platform that he started in his college dorm room.

Besides the innovations and regulations that have all come about thanks to the crew at Facebook, Zuckerberg has just announced something astounding, especially for someone with his net worth. He’s giving it all away. Yes, one of history’s youngest self-made billionaires is donating 99% of his stock in Facebook to charity. Sadly, this wonderful announcement—which coincided with the birth of his first child—has been tainted by scams and fraud, namely in the latest Facebook hoax to make the rounds. The text of this latest hoax reads:

“THANK YOU, MARK ZUCKERBERG, for your forward-thinking generosity! And congrats on becoming a dad! Mark Zuckerberg has announced that he is giving away $45 billion of Facebook stock. What you may not have heard is that he plans to give 10% of it away to people like YOU and ME! All you have to do is copy and paste this message into a post IMMEDIATELY. At midnight PST, Facebook will search through the day’s posts and award 1000 people with $4.5 million EACH as a way of saying thank you for making Facebook such a powerful vehicle for connection and philanthropy.
I hope someone I know gets a piece of the pie–let me know if you do!!!”

Sigh…no, he’s not giving his fortune to the random internet people who made him the man he is today. Luckily, he is giving his funds to organizations that work towards the advancement of humanity, the eradication of disease, to education initiatives, and more. At the end of the day, which of those two scenarios is more beneficial to society, and more believable?

This one is a complete and total hoax. The periodic use of all-caps should tell us that. But if you break it down and look at the information, it should also make you suspicious. Where is the news article—from a reputable source, not a homemade blog—linking to this? Where is the video of the founder at a press conference, making this momentous announcement? It’s not there, because it’s not real.

Interestingly, there’s a huge difference between a scam and a hoax, the most important difference being that scams are after your money and hoaxes are nothing more than silly jokes, intended to give the originator a good laugh. This one not only doesn’t require money for you to participate, it also doesn’t claim that you have to like or share the post (which does benefit the person who originally started it), so this is nothing more than a gullibility test.

There is something unfortunate to remember about Facebook hoaxes: they can actually have consequences. Besides the fact that you just told the entire internet that you’ll believe anything you read, especially if there’s a chance of getting some free money out of it, when you share a hoax on your social media you are perpetuating outright lies that often cause hysteria, mistrust, or a confusion about how technology and society really work.

Think back to other hoaxes you’ve probably encountered online. “The hospital will donate $1 for every like, $2 for every share! Let’s save this little boy’s life!” Do we really believe that medical professionals stand ready to operate on an adorable little boy, waiting for the post to reach 100,000 likes? That kind of mindset makes the public believe there are arbitrary and pointless deciding factors in our healthcare system. “Delete this app now, the police, the CIA, and the FBI are already investigating the man who wrote it!” This hoax appears from time to time when new apps and games come out; there are plenty of security flaws in our everyday software, and spreading lies about the CIA’s involvement in a child’s game causes people to doubt the very real security threat in other programs.

Remember, if you don’t have a verified and reputable source of the information, it’s best not to share it. Avoid keeping the confusion and hysteria going—and avoid looking sheepish when it turns out you shared a complete lie while trying to “win” something—by knowing what you share, and where it came from.

There’s no shortage of scammers lurking on social media, but a recent scam on Facebook may hit a little too close to its mark, especially at this time of year. As the holidays approach, it’s easy to fall victim to offers of free money, but this one is nothing but a fraud.

The Facebook Lottery Scam is certainly nothing new, but what makes this version different is the accompanying image of a certificate of authenticity made out to the recipient. In this version, which typically comes through private messages on Facebook, someone contacts you to let you know that you’ve won, and then informs you that you must show up in person to collect your winnings. When you reply that you can’t do that due to geographic limitations, you’re then offered the option to have the winnings shipped to you for an outrageous amount of money.

You might wonder how people can still fall for these online scams, but as the public has become more aware of it, the criminals have had to up their game in order to convince people to believe it. One of the methods for enticing people to play along is to use hacked friends’ accounts, meaning the award notice can look like it came from someone you know. Other attempts at convincing you this is real can involve using specific information about you, like your workplace or names of people you know, all of which is information that can easily be garnered from your Facebook profile, your previous posts, or your friends’ list.

This type of scam is so common that the FBI actually has a name for it: advance fee scam. That designation refers to any con game in which the victim is instructed to pay a fee in order to collect a prize, be hired for a job, or other similarly beneficial situation. If anyone ever offers you employment, a prize, or any other form of payoff in return for the recipient fronting some funds, it most likely falls into this category.

Unfortunately, not only is it nearly impossible to track down the culprit in advance fee scams that take place online, the victim often feels so ridiculous at being victimized that he or she never comes forward. By not alerting others to the scam, though, there are practically guaranteed to be more victims.

To avoid this type of crime, remember a few simple rules about online activity. First, never send money to anyone who contacts you online, no matter how enticing, alarming, heart-wrenching, or plausible the story. Next, keep in mind that no one has ever gotten rich from a lottery they didn’t enter in the first place. There is no such thing as money for nothing, and anyone who says otherwise is quite possibly out to steal from you.

Pyramid schemes are nothing new. They go by many names and offer a lot of different variations, some of which sound like harmless fun or even legitimate business opportunities. But in the end, not only are pyramid schemes a good way to lose a lot of money and the trust of your friends and family, they’re also illegal.

Last year, ITRC exposed a new Facebook pyramid scheme called the Secret Sisterhood Gift Exchange that left users at risk. It is beginning to resurface again this year and here’s how you can stay ahead of the game. If you’re new to the concept of this kind of scam, a pyramid scheme works by building on your own “meager” investment. You are approached by someone who’s already involved in the scam and told that if you pay up the specified cost, you will then make a multifold return on your “investment” by recruiting others to join in the scam. For example, you may be asked to pay $5,000, which is shared among the people on the level above you; then you’re tasked with recruiting ten other people to each pay $5,000. You will make a portion of their investments, as will the people above you. The selling point for the hapless people you recruit is that they will turn around and each find ten people to join in, and the game goes on.

It’s not hard to see why this is illegal under the endless chain scheme laws. All it takes for one person—possibly even you—to lose all your money and make no return is for someone to not uphold the bargain of finding ten people to each pay in their share.

But what about the ones that don’t require massive cash payments? Over the years, this type of scam has been presented with everything from children’s books to dish towels to panties—seriously, ladies’ underwear, in which you send a pair of undies to the next person on the list, then get ten other people to join in the panty fun. Even the old concept of the chain letter—“send this letter to twenty of your friends within the next twenty-four hours…don’t let the chain be broken or there will be deadly consequences!”—seems harmless on the surface because it doesn’t appear to cost you anything more than some postage or a click of your email forwarding mouse. But that’s not actually what’s at stake.

A new scam that’s making its way around social media is called the “secret sister” game, and it’s nothing more than an old-fashioned pyramid scheme. In this version, new recruits agree to send a $10 gift—perhaps a candle, some gloves, or some fancy lotion—to the names on the list. They will then turn around and recruit ten more people to do the same, thereby ensuring that they receive $10 gifts from thirty-six people down the line. It seems harmless enough, right?

Wrong. First of all, it violates the terms of service for sites like Facebook, and could result in your account being blocked. In this era of privacy, security and identity theft, there’s simply no reason to participate in a “game” of this kind. Even if you end up a winner, what you win is a houseful of cheap gifts from total strangers. The more likely outcome, though, is the possibility that someone is gathering and storing the personal information on everyone who plays along. This kind of threat is too great to ignore for a cheap candle from someone you’ve never met.

For your own sake, and the safety of your identifying information, you need to file this one in the “something for nothing” scam drawer and get rid of it. Whether it’s money, children’s books, chain letters, or even underwear, no one starts these things because they have too much free time on their hands. There’s typically an underlying motive that you can’t see, and in this case the consequences could be lasting damage to your identity.

As always, anyone who believes their identity has been stolen or their personal data has been compromised is invited to connect with the ITRC through our 24-hour toll-free call center at (888) 400-5530, or on-the-go with the new IDTheftHelp app for iOS and Android.

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 Detectorleads 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 – Android Malware Attacks

Many phone users fail to remember one crucial piece of information about their smartphones and tablets: they’re actually minicomputers. They’re susceptible to malware and viruses just like the computer that sits on their desks. This is especially troubling because many users don’t think about installing antivirus protections on their phones, leaving the door wide open for a cybercriminal.

Even worse, with the abundance of social media messaging and text messaging, it’s all too easy for a scammer to send a malicious link to a recipient in the form of a bogus ad or offer, duping the user into clicking and installing the malware.

If you ever receive a message through your device with an offer, an unknown request to update your software, or any other link that you can’t verify, it’s important that you authenticate the content before you click. A simple online search with the details of the message should give you the information you need.

#2 – Halloween Shopping Scam

We just can’t enjoy a good holiday anymore without scammers ruining it somehow. And with Halloween being the second highest consumer spending holiday (after Christmas), it’s no wonder thieves have come out of the woodwork to make a quick buck.

With the abundance of online shopping and the ease of making a cheap and anonymous website, fake Halloween stores are a growing problem. Whether it’s full costumes, decorations, or any accessories you might need, a number of fake websites use stolen images from legitimate Halloween stores to produce what looks like a genuine company. They take your credit card information for the items you think you’re purchasing, but you never receive your goods.

To avoid these stores, be watchful for things on their websites that don’t look right, like strange wording or bad grammar. More importantly, never enter your personal or financial information on a website that doesn’t have an HTTPS designation at the front of its web address. The S indicates it’s a secure site, and that’s something scammers cannot easily fake.

#3 – IP Address Scam

You’re probably used to getting random scammy offers in your email inbox, ones that start with phrases like “Dear Blessed,” or “Attention User.” It’s easy to ignore those because they’re so fake looking. But what about ones that are harder to detect because they actually contain information about you, in this case, your internet service provider? It’s harder to ignore a promise of free rewards when the email specifically says, “Dear CableOne Customer.”

How did the scammer know who your internet company is? It’s in your IP address, an easily located piece of information. Your IP is your connection’s own personal “name,” so to speak, and it’s all over the internet, basically anywhere you visit, comment, or shop. Don’t worry, it’s not usually considered a highly sensitive piece of information, but it can be used to make a phishing email or message look a little more genuine. Remember to avoid scams that promise you something for nothing, something like cash or prizes for responding to an email or filling out a survey, even if they look like they came from a real business.

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.

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 Detectorleads 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.

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 Detectorleads 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 – Facebook Privacy Hoax

Facebook is back in the Top Scams this week, this time for the privacy notice hoax. You’ve probably already seen a really weird paragraph posted to some of your friends’ walls that starts out, “Better safe than sorry, this was already reported on Channel 13 news…” Some jokester is once again convincing people that they must post a privacy notice on their Facebook walls to prevent Facebook from using, selling, or gathering their photos or posts.

It’s not true. If you’d actually read those terms of service that you agreed to when you signed up for a Facebook account (you did read all those, right?), you would know exactly what can happen to your content once you post it on social media. It’s out there for anyone to grab, whether you want them to or not. It’s important to also remember the difference between a scam and a hoax, as the second item in this week’s Top Scams illustrates perfectly…

#2 – Facebook Gold Membership Hoax/Scam

Why would anyone bother to start an online hoax like the privacy hoax? There was no money involved and no glory for the guy who thought it up, so what’s the point? Probably it’s just for fun, a game in which he gets to laugh as thousands of people fall victim to believing their content isn’t “safe” anymore. The more people who are gullible enough to share it, the funnier it becomes.

Scams, on the other hand, are not funny… not that hoaxes like this are all that amusing. In a scam like the Gold Membership scam, users are actually told that their accounts will no longer be set to “private” on Facebook unless they pay for a premium membership. Failure to pay will result in all of your content, photos, and posts being immediately made public.

This one isn’t true either, and most of the versions making the rounds don’t actually connect to a link to submit your payment. Once again, it’s just a stupid hoax on the part of the guys who started it. It becomes a scam, however, once someone actually begins to target people for money and tries to collect that fee. Of course, sharing the hoax post can indicate to scammers which social media users are gullible enough to fall for it; that could lead them to message users directly with a link to submit payment. Be aware that Facebook is a free service, and that the company’s own FAQ page states it will never charge the public to use it. Any post you see to the contrary simply isn’t true.

#3 – Medical Coverage Scam

Seniors are once again being hit hard with a scam that targets one of their most vulnerable fears: health coverage. Once again, scammers are coming after the elderly with fake prescription drug coverage, discount plans, and even attempts to get their identifying information by claiming they’re sending out new cards and need to verify the patient’s info.

Do not give out any personal information to someone who contacts you by phone. Whether it’s to verify your account, submit a payment that they claim your coverage provider never received, take payment for a bill that they claim is due, or any other effort to get at your identity or your finances, do not handle it over the phone. All unsolicited transactions should be handled via mail or through a phone call that you initiate to your provider using a phone number you have for the company.

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.

There’s another Facebook hoax going around, one that insists you must now pay a fee if you want to keep your account private on the popular social media website. Luckily, according to the original hoax post, you can skirt the fee by posting on your wall something to the effect that you do not give Facebook permission to use your content, you own the copyright to all your photos, etc.

It’s a hoax. Utterly, completely, entirely a hoax. Harmless, but still pointless. But if that’s the case, what does someone stand to gain from starting it in the first place? First, you have to look for the differences in a hoax and a scam. In a scam, someone is trying to get something from you—usually money or your personal identifiable information—while a hoax, is just a silly joke or an attempt to spread a negative rumor about a company or entity. For all we know, the originator of the latest in a long line of similar hoaxes did it just to see if he could get people to share it. A more nefarious reason might be to see which social media users are gullible enough to fall for such a ridiculous concept, and then attempt to target those individuals with actual fee-based scams.

Sadly, hoaxes like this one go viral because they’re too easy to share across a vast network of connections and because they play up our emotions. Who enjoys the thought of waking up one day and finding out that Facebook changed the setting on all of your children’s pictures to Public? Or the thought that the US government leaves military dogs behind to fend for themselves after troops return home to the States (a hoax that has even gotten national attention in the op-ed sections of major newspapers… it’s not true at all, but that doesn’t stop people from sharing it on Facebook)?

It’s important to be able to recognize the signs of both hoaxes and scams. Sharing a hoax really only garners you some embarrassment but can change other users’ perceptions of you. The last thing you want is for your boss to find your ludicrous post that states, “In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention).” Hint: there’s no such thing as the Berner Convention, and you’d know exactly what Facebook can do with your content if you’d actually read the Terms of Service when you signed up.

As for scams, though, it’s vital that you recognize the signs of a scam in order to protect yourself from financial harm or identity theft. In scams, you’re often offered something outrageous for free and then led to another location to pay a fee, some taxes, shipping and handling, or other strange cost. Any offer that expects you to submit a lot of very sensitive information about yourself is also likely to be a scam. Remember to keep you guard up and stay alert to the tactics that thieves and jokesters use in order to avoid embarrassment or actual harm.

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 Detectorleads 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 – Free Hotel Stay

This scam is so strange because it’s partly legitimate. You really do get to stay in a nice hotel… for free!

Often as a marketing tactic through previous travel you’ve booked, you receive an email telling you that you’ve won a free hotel stay in a sought-after locale. The problem is how you plan to get there: when you call the agency to redeem your free accommodations, there’s a catch. You are required to book your airfare through that agency in order to claim your free stay.

Why are they giving you a free hotel stay? Because they’re going to more than make up for that cost by gouging you on the travel fees, sometimes charging you as much as double what you’d pay if you’d booked it yourself. Be mindful any time you’re offered something for nothing, and be on the watch for “too good to be true” deals.

#2 – Customer Appreciation Scam

Businesses rely on happy customers to keep their doors open and to spread the word. So customer appreciation isn’t an unheard of marketing tactic. But here’s what is unheard of: companies offering you a gift as their way of thanking you, then charging you for the gift.

If you ever receive a phone call or mailer that offers you something in exchange for payment of the “taxes and shipping,” or other bogus charges, that’s not a thank you! Ignore the mailer and end the call with the representative immediately; by paying these fees with your information, credit card, or bank account number, you could be giving your identity to a scammer.

#3 – Utilities Payment Scam

Fall weather is on its way, and those pleasantly crisp mornings when you step out to get the paper may be the reason why this very common scam is back on the rise.

When you receive a phone call from someone who claims to be from one of your utility companies, it’s understandable to be worried. When the caller tells you that your last payment wasn’t received and your service is about to be shut off, that’s when the panic can really set in. (You can see why this one’s popular in the fall and winter. After all, you were just threatened with having your heat cut off!)

Of course, the scammer has an easy remedy for you: payment over the phone. Then he’ll nab your personal identifiable information and your credit card information. But don’t worry, it’s very easy to protect yourself from this scam: when the caller tells you that payment hasn’t been received, simply say, “Oh, how strange! Let me call up my checking account online and verify that it went through.” There’s not much he can do after that, and he’ll likely hang up.

Never, ever make payment over the phone for a missed bill, whether it’s for your utilities, a credit card, a loan payment, or other account. Always verify the authenticity of the caller’s information for yourself by dialing your company directly and getting the approval to mail another check if there actually has been an error.

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.

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 Detectorleads 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.

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 Detectorleads 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 – Gas Pump Swap

As if you already didn’t have enough to worry about at the gas pump, this new scam has taken thieves’ imaginations to a whole new level. In this one, you swipe your credit card—after verifying that the card reader hasn’t been tampered with and a skimming film installed, of course—and end up paying to fill up the thief’s car.

Before you arrive at the pump, the thief actually switches the nozzles so that a pump from his side is now in position facing your car, and your gas nozzle is in place in his car’s gas tank. When you swipe your credit card and begin fueling, you’re actually filling up his car!

There are many, many reasons to be mindful of your surroundings at a gas station, and this is just the latest one.

#2 – iPhone 7 Testers

This scam can take on many, many different forms, but it still amounts to a something-for-nothing scam. This one involves pop-up or sidebar ads seeking internet users to test the new iPhone 7. After clicking the ad and filling out a brief survey, you’re directed to a screen that congratulates you for being selected to test the new device.

On that screen, you just have to fill out the registration form for them to mail you the phone. You’ll be asked to provide a credit card number to cover the cost of shipping, and of course they’ll need some personal identifying information to go with it.

This is a complete scam, run by identity thieves who will sell your information or use it themselves. Do you really believe that the Apple corporation—a worldwide tech giant who has more cash on hand in reserve than the US government—needs to solicit strangers on the internet to test out its products? No, they don’t, but thieves are hoping your desire for a brand-new iPhone will make you overlook that.

#3 – Tuition Scams

This is the time of year when scammers play off your back-to-school mindset. In two different variations of the scam, your tuition (or that of your child) is at stake.

In the first version, a caller claiming to be from the school’s registrar’s office contacts you after conducting a simple records search or a Facebook search for the name of your or your child’s school. By stating that your last tuition payment didn’t go through or that your financial aid/scholarship was cancelled, the caller tricks you into thinking you’re about to lose your spot for a school year that starts in only a matter of days. Due to this urgency, you’re told to pay over the phone by credit, via a prepaid Visa card, or wire transfer.

The other version works in reverse: you or your child are suddenly eligible for financial aid, grants, or scholarships, and you must pay an administrative registration fee to submit your instant over-the-phone application.

Remember, this is not how financial aid works. If your aid has been cancelled or you were suddenly found to be ineligible, you will be provided with that information via a letter sent through the postal service. If you are found to be eligible for aid you didn’t know about, again, you will receive a mailed letter with the application and instructions. Anything else smells of a scam and should be treated as such.

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.