Top 5 Scams (And Why They Work)

Scam Alert written on the road I wouldn't scoff too much the next time you hear about a scam victim. We are all susceptible. I am not referring to the request for help depositing a million dollars written in broken English. No, the really good scams are pulled off by sophisticated con-artists. Those that look and sound so real, unless you have your guard up, you too will fall prey. They use techniques to build a rapport with you; look and sound very credible; and play off your emotions to get you to make quick decisions.

The Better Business Bureau reports the following as the current top 5 most successful scams:
  1. Arrest scam. You receive an anonymous phone call from someone claiming to be a government agent. They are going to arrest you for overdue taxes, but you can avoid the arrest by sending them money via a prepaid credit card. Many people pay out of fear.
  2. Tech support scam. You get a call, or a “popup” on your computer, from Microsoft about a problem with your computer. You are told that if you give “tech support” access to your hard drive, they can fix it. Instead, they begin stealing your personal information.
  3. “Are you calling yourself?” scam. Scammers can make a call look as though it’s coming from anywhere—even your own phone. This piques your curiosity and you return the call. At that point, you are snagged.
  4. Copycat website scam. You get an email, or text message, about a terrific sale. You click through, and it looks like a popular retail site. But when you order, you get nothing at all, and they have your credit card  information.
  5. Medical alert scam. You get a call claiming that a concerned family member ordered a medical alert device for you in case of an emergency. This one obviously preys on older people. They take your credit card, or banking information, but you never receive anything.
What can you do to protect yourself?  Don’t allow yourself to be pressured; never provide personal information to people you don’t know; don’t click on unsolicited links; and verify claims, good or bad, before acting.
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