Fraud is a crime that often goes unreported as people fall victim to what can prove to be embarrassing scams. Scams are often so well executed you may not even know you've been had. It isn't always enough to work on the premise if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't. Here are 5 examples of scams that took people off guard when they let their defenses down.
If you are in debt and receive an email informing you that your request for a pre-approved loan has been approved, it is easy to feel nothing but relief. If you have been applying to many different financial institutions it may not seem odd receiving such an email. This scam focuses on requesting a pre-payment for the loan,. If you are drowning in debt it may seem like a reasonable request in order to establish payment. with the institute however it can lead to difficulty in many ways as a) they have taken your money and b) they now have confidential banking and credit card information which may just be scratching the surface of the damage they can do.
Unfortunately disaster can strike at any time and even in the tragic case of human loss and devastation thieves are waiting to take advantage. Requests for donations for the Oklahoma tornado victims and even the Boston Marathon bombing are perfect bait for fraud. Asking for donations is a classic set up for scams. Unless you see that the money is going to a reputable organization, don't give. Look for opportunities through your bank or even your child's school or office. You are likely to be in a safe situation through these trustworthy sources. Never give credit card or banking information as this is a risky way to pay, especially online, unless it is a known charity. Phone calls are also questionable and can be just about anyone.
This is the classic scam in which thieves send a very convincing email from your bank. These emails are designed to have you visit an unknown site and provide your banking security information such as passwords, pass codes and other personal information. A good clue there is an issues is when they say it is an urgent request. Any email coming in to you regarding banking that has a link requesting you to visit and confirm information that includes http as opposed to https is a clue it is a scam. If you receive such an email it's also a good idea to contact your bank to see if it is legitimate just in case. If not you can report it to the bank so they are aware.
Depending on your excitement to claim the prize, the sweepstakes or winning a prize scam can come in many different guises from texts to emails and good old fashioned phone calls. The scam here is to entice you to buy something in exchange for the prize. They tell you they will send a salesperson, or that you have to purchase something in order to claim the prize. This is always a scam. If you win a prize you get the prize and are expected to share nothing in return.
Information presented by the media can trigger all walks of scams. The most recent is based on the Affordable Care Act with thieves trying to sell health insurance. In this particular case keep in mind that nothing is planned to happen until October 2013. Any calls you receive regarding this or any other government initiatives or changes to anything from tax law to pensions offer ample opportunity for thieves to swoop in with a new way to scam you out of your money.
Keep in mind these are just 5 examples. There are also get rich quick schemes and work from home scams in which an upfront fee is requested and buying/selling online scams with offers that are too good to be true. Social media and relationship scams can also lead to theft, or worse, personal injury. Keep your guard up and pay close attention to protect yourself from crime.