Protect yourself from various scams

September 13th, 2019

Over 50,000 people filed scam reports with the Better Business Bureau in 2018, according to the 2018 BBB Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report. Some of the victims were out thousands of dollars and that money may never be recouped. Learn how to spot and avoid being scammed.

Unlike credit card fraud, where the maximum liability under federal law is $50, there is no such protection for bank scams at all. Scammers will often try to convince victims to deposit fake checks and forward a portion of the cash to them. In most cases, by the time the check is discovered to be fraudulent, the scammer has disappeared and the victim is left to cover the cost of the bad check. You would be responsible for any deposits in your bank as per the rules.

However, you can avoid falling victim to these scams by knowing how criminals operate and how to protect yourself. These are the common scams that target your bank account:

  • Check over payment scams.
  • Credit card and bank account scams.
  • Charity scams.
  • Online lending scams.
  • Employment scams.
  • Award scams.

Check Over payment Scams

Check over payment fraud is a very popular scam that targets sellers from online auctions and classified advertisement websites. During a transaction, the fraudulent buyer will pay the seller with a non cash payment for more than the amount of the item. The scammer would then ask the victim to deposit the check and wire the difference back to the buyer. However, the check will eventually be found to be fake, and the seller will be out not only a returned item fee, but also whatever cash they forwarded to that supposed buyer.

If you are selling an item to someone in Ohio, but the checklists the name of a dentist office in the District of Columbia, it’s probably not legitimate and rather is a scam. Regardless of how insistent a buyer may be, never cash a check and immediately wire money from it. Talk to your bank if you have any concerns about the legitimacy of a payment you receive.

Credit Card and Bank Account Scams

You may get emails or calls from someone who claims to be from your credit card issuer or bank. The message may ask you to click on a link to update your account information or call back to discuss a problem. In some cases, scammers may even claim they are investigating possible fraud on your account and ask for details such as your account number or Social Security number so they can investigate further. These are all attempts to get you to hand over sensitive information as well as potential malware, virus and tools that steal information.

Do not click on any email links or attachments as it can be malware as well virus or a tool to steal your information. Scam phone messages may include a callback number, but you should ignore that. Otherwise, you will most likely find yourself on the phone with the scammer, rather than an actual bank representative.

Charity Scams

Not everyone asking for a charitable donation may be on the up and up. Fraudsters are out there, and they do prey on people’s good intentions and target such people. You could receive a call asking for donations to the local police department or military families. The crooks elicit information about your bank account or debit card to donate the phone which gives them full access to your checking account.

To make sure your good intentions don’t go to waste, the safest way to give to a charity is by choosing an organization you know and trust and also do manual research before your donation. Be cautious about giving your information to individuals who reach out by telephone or email or via other means.

Online Lending Scams

Victims of this scam are often those who have trouble obtaining a loan through a bank. These people mainly receive an email from a supposed lender or find a website offering easy access to money. After obtaining a victim’s bank account, Social Security number and other details, they may send a loan payment or direct deposit. The victim may be asked to make an immediate good faith payment out of that money but as with the check overpayment scam, the so called loan here is certainly fraudulent.

It would be wise to check reviews and the Better Business Bureau rating of any company offering a loan. If there are no reviews or ratings to be found, the business may not be real at all.

Employment Scams

Younger people are more likely to be the victim of employment scams. In most of these cases, the scammers offer a job but request a finder’s fee or other payment. Work-at-home jobs seem to be particularly ripe for scams, and fraudulent people will try to charge a fee for supplies and information to help a person get one of these positions.

If you are asked to work at home for minimal work and high pay, it is most likely another scam. Do not accept any work-at-home opportunities that involve sending money in advance or sending a portion of payments to a third party via wire transfer or other method.

Award Scams

In these tricks, you are regularly told you’ve won a remote lottery. Convicts will send you a huge register to store with your private financial records. You will at that point be solicited to quickly wire a bit from the assets to make good on for government regulatory expenses and authoritative charges. 

Step by step instructions to maintain a strategic distance from this trick: If you didn’t participate in the challenge, you didn’t win it. Note that it is illicit to take an interest in a remote lottery utilizing mail or telephone in the U.S. Also, when winning a lottery, you won’t be in charge of making good on regulatory expenses or charges straightforwardly to the legislature. 

Ensure Yourself

Tricksters will keep on thinking of inventive approaches to get into individuals’ financial balances, which frequently includes exploited people dismantling money out to hand over to the hoodlums. Con artists regularly search for individuals who are scanning for occupations, dating, selling items and even goody two shoes hoping to help somebody out of luck. Furthermore, seniors are frequently in the bull’s-eye for tricks.