A scam for nearly every occasion | #datingscams | #lovescams

Scammers can be very convincing.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, they call, email and send us text messages trying to get our money or sensitive personal information — like our Social Security or account numbers.

They also prey on the most vulnerable. Here’s a sample of the range of scams, according the the Federal Trade Commission:

Romance scams

Romance scams are usually initiated online and often prey on vulnerable people. Scammers create fake online profiles and attempt to build phony emotional attachments until a potential victim is comfortable sending them money.

Victims can be both men and women. Many times, the criminal targets older people and those who may be struggling in a relationship and/or are emotionally vulnerable. Though most criminals aim for vulnerable targets, affluent and well-educated individuals have also fallen victim to these type of scams.

Criminals do extensive research on potential victims, looking through social media and dating sites for posts divulging information about their lives and personalities. They are expert manipulators and use personal posts against the victim, cultivating them over a long period of time. Victims feel there is a real connection, romantic interest, and become invested in the online relationship.

IRS imposter scams

You get a call and the caller ID might show as the IRS calling. The caller might give a badge number and know the last 4 digits of your Social Security number. You are told you owe money and need to pay now to avoid arrest. You are told to wire the amount or put it on a prepaid debit card. It’s a scam. The IRS does not contact you for the first time by telephone or by email.

Don’t give the caller any financial or personal information. If you think you may have heard from a scammer call the FTC 877-FTC-HELP.

Law enforcement impersonation scam

Scammers email and text pictures of real and doctored law enforcement credentials and badges to prove they are legitimate and scam people out of money. Scammers change the picture or use a different name, agency or badge number but the basic scam is the same.

Social Security will never threaten, scare, or pressure you to take an immediate action.

Social Security imposter scams

Scammers claim there is a problem with your Social Security account or promise to increase your benefits. Hang up and call the Federal Trade Commission 877-FTC-HELP

Charity scams

Scammers pretend to be from a real or fake charity and try to get you to contribute. Do some research online. When you consider giving to a specific charity search its name plus “complaint, “review” and “scam.” If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it. That’s how scammers ask you to pay. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. Some scammers try to trick you into paying them by thanking you for a donation that you never made. Some scammers use names that sound a lot like the names of real charities. This is one reason it pays to do some research before giving. Guaranteeing sweepstakes winnings in exchange for a donation is not only a scam, it’s illegal.

Grandparent scams

Scammers pretend to be a grandchild or other relative who needs emergency financial help. Grandparents often have a hard time saying no, which is something scam artists know all too well.

Scammers who gain access to consumers’ personal information – by mining social media or purchasing data from cyber thieves – can create storylines to prey on the fears of grandparents. The scammers call and impersonate a grandchild – or another close relative – in a crisis situation, asking for immediate financial assistance. Sometimes these callers “spoof” the caller ID to make an incoming call appear to be coming from a trusted source. Often the imposter claims to have been in an accident or arrested. The scammer may ask the grandparent “please don’t let mom and dad know,” and may hand the phone over to someone posing as a lawyer seeking immediate payment. Bad actors now use artificial intelligence technology “to mimic voices, convincing people, often the elderly, that their loved ones are in distress,” according to an article in the Washington Post.

Job offer scams

Virtual job scams are nothing new, but they’ve taken a personal – and persuasive – turn. College students say they’ve been approached on social media by people claiming to be recruiters for Wall Street firms, tech companies, national retailers, and other attractive places to land a job. The pitch is convincing. The “recruiter” may claim to have a connection at the college and say that the dean or a professor has recommended the student as a top-flight prospect for the company’s prestigious management program. In some cases, the recruiter may pepper the conversation with faculty names, campus landmarks, or even memories of their days back at good ol’ (insert-school here).

Then comes a series of virtual interviews followed by a lucrative job offer. Next is the usual “HR paperwork” involving the student’s Social Security number, bank account or driver’s license information, or other personal data. In some cases, the recruiter may send a generous check as a “signing bonus,” but needs to have a portion of the cash sent to someone else, perhaps to cover the cost of a company phone or laptop.

What’s really going on? It turns out the “recruiter” is an identity thief who has used publicly available facts – the dean’s name, well-known professors, school traditions, etc. – to steal personal information or to attempt a fake check scam.

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