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BEWARE of FRAUD in all it's forms 6-5-24

6 red flags that may indicate you’re being scammed

Reprinted from Edward Jones Financials...

  1. Reaching out without warning: Be wary when a company or government agency unexpectedly contacts you, either by phone or email. Scammers can do what’s called spoofing to make their call or message look like it’s coming from a legitimate source. Contact the business or agency directly to find out if the contact was legitimate. If it’s not, it’s best to delete the communication.

  2. Pressuring you to take quick action: With time and careful thought, scams are often found out. That’s why scammers pressure you to act immediately. They don’t want you to slow down and think more critically, and they certainly don’t want you checking in with a trusted friend or family member. Take the time to investigate before proceeding.

  3. Sounding the alarm: Scammers will also use scare tactics. They’ll tell you a loved one is in danger or that your computer has been hacked. They’ll make up an emergency related to the IRS or Social Security Administration and tell you to pay immediately or face arrest or financial ruin. Again, it’s best to take a breath and go to the source for verification.

  4. Winning but there’s a catch: A common part of sweepstakes and lottery scams is to let you know you’ve won a prize, but you must pay a fee in advance to collect it. If you’re asked to provide your back account information, wire money or purchase gift cards, you’re most likely not a real winner.

  5. Getting way too personal: A good rule of thumb: Do not share personal information — passwords, authentication codes, date of birth, Social Security number, bank account numbers — with a stranger or an unverified source. Scammers will often use your personal information to steal your identity.

  6. Paying, especially in unusual ways: If you’re being pressured to wire money or pay by gift card, you’re probably being scammed. Scammers love gift card payments because they’re readily available, virtually untraceable and easily converted to cash. When you use payment apps or purchase a gift card, you can lose out on the buyer protection offered by other payment options, like your credit card.

Along with knowing what to look for, it helps to be aware of the types of fraud often deployed by scammers.

5 common types of fraud

  1. Romance scams are when someone misrepresents themselves, often online, as a potential romantic partner. As the relationship builds, a financial need will arise, like purchasing a plane ticket or dealing with a medical emergency.

  2. Investment scams involve the scammer tricking you into giving them money by promising big payouts with little to no risk — usually by investing in cryptocurrency, real estate or precious metals and coins.

  3. Tech support scams usually start with a phone call or pop-up box that suggests your computer has an urgent issue. The scammer may impersonate companies like Apple, Microsoft or Norton. They typically ask for payment information to fix the problem.

  4. Imposter scams can vary. They generally start with an unsolicited phone call, email or text. They can pose as someone you’d trust, like a representative of the IRS or the Social Security Administration, or from a company you do business with. They may even pose as a family member. Whoever the imposter, the message will be urgent, and they’ll eventually ask for money or personal information.

  5. Lottery and sweepstakes scams  exploit your eagerness to win a fabulous prize. The message in the initial contact is a congratulations, but there’s a catch: You’ll be asked to pay a fee or taxes to claim your big prize. Again, to create urgency, a deadline for responding will be included.

What should you do if you feel you or a loved one is a victim of fraud? First, acknowledge how vulnerable this can make someone feel. Victims can struggle with feelings of embarrassment or that they should have known better. So, be patient and remember scammers are good at what they do, and almost everyone has some vulnerability that can be exploited.

By reporting it, you can help prevent others from being victimized.

  • File a police report.

  • Alert the Federal Trade Commission at

  • Contact the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at

  • Report it to your state attorney general.

  • If it involves Social Security, call the Administration’s fraud hotline at 800-269-0271.

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