Never open a new account for someone who sends you a check.

Who Is It Targeting: Typically targets online dating or romance contacts

What Is It: Scam that steals money from your account

What Are They After: This scam most often affects people who connect via online dating sites or accept friend requests on social media. After gaining your trust, the scammer sends you a blank check and tells you to fill out the amount. You’re instructed to deposit the scammer’s check in your own bank account, then use the money to open a new account in the scammer’s name as a favor to the scammer (who obviously has some very good excuse as to why they can’t open the account themselves). Once you transfer the money from your account to the new account, the scammer takes that money and disappears, and the check you originally deposited bounces for insufficient funds. The money in this scenario came straight out of your bank account and is gone for good.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Be very careful of the things an online friend or love interest asks you to do.
  • Never open a new account on someone else’s behalf if you are not directly related to the person.
  • Never take money out of your account to give to someone else without waiting to see if their funds cleared their banks.

 


If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from WMTW.com.

Following news of a large-scale data breach, scammers may contact you to get even more information.

Who Is It Targeting: Payment card holders

What Is It: Phishing scam that steals further information after a data breach

What Are They After: Police in Tallahassee have warned the public about a new scam that cropped up after the Jason’s Deli data breach. Scammers are contacting affected consumers and posing as fraud investigators, employees of the victims’ financial institutions, and more, all trying to gather even more information in order to commit identity theft. By asking you to verify your account information, the security code on the back of your stolen credit card, or other highly sensitive information, they can then steal your identity and use the payment card that was impacted in the data breach.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Never give your information to someone who contacts you out of the blue, regardless of the story they provide.
  • Instead, take their information and contact the company directly using a verified phone number.
  • Do not simply call a phone number they provide as it could lead right back to the scammers.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from WTXL.com.

Be wary of letting someone into your home, no matter what excuse they provide.

Who Is It Targeting: Home residents, especially the elderly

What Is It: A burglary based on a plausible “ruse”

What Are They After: Residents in one state have already been warned about ruse scams that use a plausible excuse to enter your home, only to rob you instead. A ruse scam happens when someone comes to the door and claims they need to check for a gas leak, make sure your cable service is working correctly, flush all the toilets due to work on a water main down the block, or any other similar excuse. These scammers often work in pairs, so one person can keep you occupied with pleasantries or a clipboard full of questions while the other person steals money, jewelry, or other items.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Never let anyone in your home without prior notification and identification.
  • If anyone claims to need access to your property, tell them to wait right there while you call the company they work for.
  • Do not use a phone number they provide, as it could be part of their ruse.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from Roselle.

Customers have been scammed by receiving an empty box from third-party sellers.

Who Is It Targeting: Amazon customers

What Is It: A bait-and-switch scam in which your order is never fulfilled

What Are They After: It’s important to note that Amazon is not at work in this scam, and that they do not condone it. Some news outlets are reporting an “empty box” scam in which a third-party seller accepts payment for your order and ships you an empty box. Under Amazon’s terms of use, if you accept the package then the seller may or may not be held accountable for the missing items.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Check out a seller’s ratings before you place an order.
  • Be watchful of sellers who have not been working through Amazon for very long, or who have lengthy lists of items for sale that seemingly have nothing to do with each other.
  • Report any issues to Amazon customer service immediately.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here.

One sheriff’s department has urged the public to file a police report if they’ve donated to a bogus crowdfunding campaign.

Who Is It Targeting: Citizens in the county of jurisdiction

What Is It: Crowdfunding scam that stole money from donors

What Are They After: Law enforcement officers in Walker County, Alabama, have issued a warning to their area residents about a bogus crowdfunding campaign that sought donations for locals in need of assistance. The sheriff’s department has gone on to encourage anyone who has donated to the campaign to file a police report with their department and provide PayPal receipts or bank receipts for their donations.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Crowdfunding is a great way to help a specific cause that might have otherwise never gotten widespread attention or support.
  • However, you cannot know what the person will do with the funds, or if the campaign is truly legitimate.
  • Consider using a secure payment method or a credit card that will work to process a refund in the event you are the victim of fraud.
  • As always, file a police report if your donation is used for fraudulent purposes.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from Walker County Today

Like other spoofed number scams, this one is fake…but your number appears on the caller ID.

Who Is It Targeting: Phone users

What Is It: A bizarre spoofing scam that tricks you into turning over your Social Security number

What Are They After: If you ever pick up your phone and see your own phone number on the caller ID, don’t answer it. By “spoofing” the phone number and using your own digits, scammers are hoping to trick you into believing they’re calling from your phone provider (that’s why your own number appeared on the screen, supposedly). They threaten to disconnect your service due to suspicious activity until you verify your account holder information, including things like your Social Security number.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Your phone company will never call you from a faked phone number, even yours.
  • Never give out your sensitive information over the phone, no matter what excuse the caller gives.
  • Remember, there’s nothing wrong with refusing to answer; if it was legitimate and important, they’ll leave a message, call back, or wait for you to return the call.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from VisaliaTimesDelta.com.

Consumers may be tempted to ignore a call from an out-of-town or unknown number, so scammers have switched tactics.

Who Is It Targeting: Local phone users

What Is It: A spoofed phone number that looks like it’s from your area

What Are They After: If you see a phone number on your caller ID from a blocked number, unknown number, or far-off city where you don’t know anyone, you might just let it ring. So scammers have a new trick: spoofing a phone number, which means using a string of number that looks like it’s right in your town, hoping you’ll be duped into answering the phone.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Even if the number looks local, there’s no requirement to answer it.
  • If you do answer and you’re directed to press buttons on your touchpad, supply personal information, or send a payment, hang up.
  • Never supply money or information to someone who contacts you…they should already know who they’re talking to.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from TaosNews.com.

A perfectly legal, convenient service could be a scammer in disguise.

Who Is It Targeting: Gift card holders

What Is It: Scam that steals information off your existing gift cards

What Are They After: The FBI has issued a warning about gift card resale scams. First, it’s perfectly legal to find an online marketplace to sell some of those gift cards you might not have wanted but received as presents. However, scammers may be lying in wait to trick you into turning over the funds before their payment actually goes through.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • Never supply the PIN number to a card until the transaction is complete.
  • Consider using an online payment portal that will hold one person’s money until the final transaction goes through.
  • Remember, many stores will now let you use their gift card to buy a different gift card, so you can avoid the resale by spending your card on something you actually do need.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from CNC.com.

There are a few ways that mystery shopping scams emerge, but this one is pretty crafty.

Who Is It Targeting: Those looking for extra income

What Is It: A phishing scam that snares you once you cash their check

What Are They After: The scam involves a cashier’s check for a few thousand dollars that arrives out of the blue. You’re instructed to cash the check at your bank, buy several $500 Walmart gift cards, then keep the remaining money for yourself, typically a few hundred dollars. After you send photos of the gift cards’ numbers and PINs to the scammers, your bank finally discovers that the cashier’s check was faked. The entire amount is then deducted from your account while the scammers have already used the gift cards.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • There is no such thing as free money.
  • If someone pays you hundreds of dollars for a simple task that takes only a few minutes, then something fishy is going on.
  • If you do have to cash a check for any reason, it’s wise to either cash it at the issuing bank or hang onto the money until it has cleared; if the check is no good, you can always return the cash to your account.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from PalmBeachPost.com.

It can’t be said enough: “You will never be required to pay for anything via prepaid debit card.”

Who Is It Targeting: California retirees

What Is It: A spoofed call that claims you owe money to your retirement fund

What Are They After: Retirees in California have now been warned about repeated scam phone calls claiming the victim owes money to the state’s retirement fund. Failure to make payment means your pension will be cut off, a scary thought for unsuspecting individuals on a fixed income. The clincher is this: payment MUST be made via prepaid debit card, which is a tell-tale sign of a scam.

How Can You Avoid It:

  • NEVER make payment to someone who calls you and claims you owe money.
  • Instead, take their information and call the organization yourself using a contact method that you looked up, not a number the caller provided (it could lead right back to their phones).
  • There is no legitimate reason why you will ever be required to make a payment of any kind using a reloadable gift card, prepaid debit card, or another untraceable payment method.

If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam, check out this article from SacBee.com