Identity Protection Part 2: Common Scams

Falling prey to scammers can upset an individual’s financial ability to afford a home as it can very likely drop their FICO score drastically. It is imperative that you always meet stranger’s propositions and “deals” with skepticism to keep you and your loved ones safe. Like the popular saying, “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”.

Below is a list of some of the most common scams reported in the last year:

IRS Imposters
This remains the nation’s biggest scam. Phone calls from imposters claiming to be IRS agents threaten arrest, deportation or seizure of property if immediate payment isn’t made to settle alleged back taxes. In addition to phone calls, these scammers have now branched out to using fraudulent mailings and faxes. It’s important to note that the real IRS would never contact someone in this manner and demand immediate payment, especially not via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer.1

Tech Support Scam
These scammers claim to be from tech support for Microsoft and other tech companies, and try to convince unsuspecting victims that they have a computer virus. According to AARP, by the end of the year “…some 3.3 million Americans will have paid an estimated $1.5 billion to these fraudsters for bogus “tech support” – and in the process, also giving these scammers remote access to their computer files and passwords for possible identity theft.”1

Foreign Lotteries
If you receive a “you won” call, letter or email, it’s likely a scam. Plus, you can’t win a lottery in another country that you never entered. Typically it’s up to you, as the winner, to notify the lottery commission, not the other way around. If you ever did win a legitimate lottery, you would never be asked to pay upfront taxes or fees in order to receive your winnings. Furthermore, if a supposed lottery sends you a check for partial payment and you cash it, you could be responsible for repaying that money.1

There are a number of different sweepstakes out there, some of which are not legitimate and they all generally work in the same fashion. They ask you to pay upfront taxes or fees in order to receive your money, but of course you never receive your prize.1

1Top Scams of 2015 – aarp.org, by Sid Kirchheimer, 12/25/15, http://blog.aarp.org/2015/12/25/top-scams-of-2015/?intcmp=AE-HP-DP1

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