March 29, 2023 · Credit, Investment, Savings, Security
This is Part 2 of Delta Community’s latest blog post on imposter scams; Part 1 was published a few weeks ago.
According the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book 2022, last year almost $2.7 billion was reported lost to imposter fraud in the United States, and, overall, this was ranked as the second-highest type of fraud, after identity theft. June 2022 data from the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network showed that in the top 10 fraud report categories for the state of Georgia, imposter scams reported were ranked number one, and they outranked the number two fraud of “online shopping and negative reviews” by a factor of two to one.
Imposter scams seem to never stop, and no one is immune to being victimized by them. But you can know more about imposter scams—such as what are some of the imposter scam variations, and actions you can take if you’re contacted by a fraudster posing as someone else.
Be wary of imposter recruiting and hiring scams. During the past three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been huge churn in U.S. employment, either because employees lost their jobs or because they quit. Any new big change or turmoil in the country provides opportunities for crooks to exploit and steal from people, often by preying upon those with difficult or desperate circumstances. Employers are posting open positions on online job boards, and recruiters are reaching out to potential candidates by phone and email. People need jobs, and that’s what scammers are counting on, because not all of those jobs are real. Some online jobs are fake and so are some job offers coming by email and phone calls. The fake jobs are being promoted by scammers impersonating recruiters trying to steal money or access financial and other types of personal accounts. What are some tipoffs that a too-good-to-be-true job opportunity is not the real deal? Well, consider these warning signs that a job is not legitimate:
If you encounter any of the above behaviors, be very, very cautious about the job being offered to you.
Separate yourself from family emergency scams, which include fake children and grandchildren contacting you. Family emergency scams usually involve crooks targeting parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or other family members. A fraudster will call, text or email a message to their intended victim claiming to be a child, grandchild, niece or nephew in trouble—or they say they are a lawyer, police officer or doctor calling for the relative. The scammer urges the victim to send money immediately to help with an emergency. The emergency may be that the phony relative is in jail or the hospital and desperately needs money to be released or receive essential medical care. The scammer could say that it’s absolutely necessary to keep the situation secret so as not to embarrass the “relative” in trouble or worry their family members or friends. The crooks want secrecy to prevent their victim from contacting anyone else who may realize it’s a scam and stop the victim from sending money. If you get a call about a family emergency that does not sound authentic, then:
Fix a tech support scam. If you get an unsolicited, surprise call from a “computer technician” who says he is from a globally-known software company and is calling to fix your computer, then the caller is a scammer. Tech support scams are an ongoing attempt to take victims’ money by convincing them that there is a serious problem with their computer when there is no problem; the scammer then offers to fix the problem for immediate payment. The scammers try to convince their innocent targets to pay them to eliminate a virus, malware or other issue supposedly harming the victim’s computer before it can cause further damage and put their email, social media, healthcare, financial or other accounts in jeopardy of being hijacked. If you didn’t first call the software company and open a help desk ticket, if you don’t have a registered account with them, and if the company shouldn’t have any way of knowing who you are or how to contact you, then hang up.
If you think someone tried to scam you, contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP, 1-877-ID-THEFT, or online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. The FTC also now has another site that can help potential or actual scam victims, Money Matters, that should be visited and looked at thoroughly. You can also watch its video on Why Report Fraud to learn how your report can help stop scammers. The U.S. Department of Justice has a list of government agencies where different types of fraud can be reported. Fraud can also be reported to state and local authorities; for some states, fraud reporting is overseen by the state’s attorney general’s office.
For anyone interested in information on financial advice, check out the free Delta Community Financial Education Center webinars on a range of money-related topics. You can visit the Financial Education Center's Events & Seminars page to register for its no-cost, on-demand webinars.