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. The Better Business Bureau leads the way by publishing a recurring and continually updated list of scams, fraud attempts, and other threats each day in its Scam Tracker. Take a look at some of their recent top scams or fraud attempts.
#1 – Dating Scam
Internet scams typically work by playing off our emotions. In the case of dating scams, the effect is even more heartbreaking; individuals who are already lonely and reaching out to others online can end up victimized, robbed of not only their money but also their trust in others.
One report to the BBB about a dating scam was so common that it might as well have been scripted. The victim met someone online, and soon enough the scammer asked for gift cards. From there, the scammer requested a wire transfer, which is when the victim became suspicious.
Remember, there’s always a chance that the person on the other side of the computer is a fraud, and there’s no better way to uncover that than to refuse to send money to someone online. Someone who does actually care about you wouldn’t ask in the first place, and certainly wouldn’t take offense if you don’t comply.
#2 – Boss Phishing
Boss phishing is a growing problem, namely because it works so well. But this past week marks one of the first times a victim has reported an attempted boss phishing to the Scam Tracker. In this incident, the recipient of the email happened to be the CFO of a company, and the phishing email appeared to come from the CEO. Right away, the first problem was the email addresses didn’t match, only the name in the subject line.
When the CFO was directed to transfer a large sum of money to a new account, he made a quick phone call to the CEO to see if it was legitimate. Obviously it wasn’t, but that didn’t stop the scammers from contacting him several more times to see if he’d sent over the money yet.
If you’re ever emailed or messaged and told to follow through with a somewhat strange request from the boss, it’s easy…just pick up the phone and verify it first.
#3 – Contractor Scam
One victim has already reached out to the BBB with news of a fraudulent contractor this week, one who claims to be licensed and bonded and who boasts about his solid reputation. So imagine the victim’s shock when he discovered that the phony contractor’s business address was actually the UPS Store in their town. He was further surprised to discover that the thousands of dollars he paid in advance for work to be done was gone, along with the contractor.
Any time a contractor tells you that you must pay up front, or must pay for the materials before he can get started, you should become suspicious. If you can’t locate anyone who has hired this individual in the past and can endorse the quality of the work, then take your business elsewhere.
For the rest of this week’s top scams, visit the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker site 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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