Avoid Telemarketing & Email Scams
We are faced with scams every day from emails trying to get vital banking, perconal, and credit card information to multi-level telemarketing scams. Since it can be difficult to stop this type of fraud, you need to know what to look for and how to protect yourself and your identity from thiefs.
Email scams have also caused millions of dollars in losses to individuals and businesses across the world. Similar to telemarketing scams, con artists who run email scams are successful because, even though only a small percentage of people fall for them, they can reach hundreds of thousands of inboxes for little to no money. Luckily, there are ways to avoid being taken advantage by telemarketing and email scams. By learning about and understanding how many common scams operate and by practicing diligence when responding to emails and phone calls, you can reduce your chances of being taken advantage of. Some common telemarketing and email scams:
Credit Card Debt Refinancing Scam
One common telemarketing fraud call involves an operator posing as being from your bank or credit card company and offering you credit card debt refinancing service, an opportunity to raise your credit limit, or other financial services. They will be vague as to specifically which bank or credit card company they are calling from, but other times they will bluff and say they are from a specific bank that is popular in your area based on your area code or a large national credit card company. At any rate, the scam artist will ask you to confirm your credit card and billing information.
This scam might sound easy to identify, but many scam operations make them believable by making use of professional sounding telephone representatives, falsified company information, or by making use of actual information about a real bank or credit card company. These calls can sound believable if the perpetrators use your actual financial information. Fraud perpetrators frequently steal personal financial information from mailboxes and household trashcans, but they can also gain access to your online banking by phishing emails.
One of the best ways to make sure you do not fall prey to this kind of fraud is to do business only with companies you are familiar with and have done business with in the past. It is usually a bad idea to consider an unsolicited service from a person or company you do not know or cannot confirm the identity of, especially if they call you. Even if you think the company is legitimate, you should ask for information in order to verify that this is true. The caller may push back saying that you do not need to confirm they are a legitimate company. This is a telltale sign of a fraud.
Contest or Foreign Lottery Winner Scam
You may be the target of this scam if you get a call where someone says you have been selected to receive a prize, even though you did not enter a contest. If you continue to listen, they will likely inform you that you must pay a fee in order to receive it, such as the cost of shipping or taxes. Other times they will ask you to purchase another item in order to get the item you "won" ? which is a ludicrous request because, if you have won something, why should you ever need to pay to receive it? Although you should always practice discretion when dealing with any telemarketer or someone you don''t know on the phone, the best decision may be to just hang up on these sorts of calls altogether.
The Foreign Lottery scam, which is similar to the Contest Winner Telemarketing Scam, targets you in the form of an email that pretends to inform you of having won a lottery in another country, Australia, England, and the Netherlands being the most common. The next part of this scam involves the scam artist saying that, due to certain laws, you must pay certain taxes and fees on your winnings before receiving them. During this time, the victim receives a check and is told to deposit it in their personal account. Next, they are told to write a check, draw on the same account, in order to pay the taxes and fees. The deposited check ends up being a fake, but the victim''s check is of course real and they end up being on the hook for the full amount.
The reason this sort of scam is so prevalent is because victims never feel they are being asked to place themselves at risk. After all, they think, how can someone lose their own money if they write a check for the same amount as one they are depositing? The fact is it can take days and even a week or more for a check to clear, especially if it is a foreign check. Banks usually make deposits available for withdraw in a much shorter time span, which means plenty of time for the scam artist to cash the good check before their bad check found out to be a fraud. For this reason, it is important to be extremely skeptical and not allow yourself to be swayed by the strong emotions that come with winning money, especially since that money is probably not real.
Cell Phone Telemarketing Scams
There are a number of emails going around that claim that all cell phone numbers will soon become available to telemarketers unless an action is taken on your part. Usually the emails instruct the reader to call a toll free number in order to register their cell number for a "Cell Phone Do Not Call List" which, the scam operator says, can be done for a fee. Variations of this scam might direct you to a fraudulent Do Not Call List website and other scam messages are sent out by SMS text message. Regardless of whether you are on the phone or on a website, someone is trying to scam you and you should not give out your personal or financial information.
Prescription Drugs Spam Email Scam
Another ongoing scam that seems to be ubiquitous in almost anyone''s Spam Folder is the prescription drugs email scam. Although most modern spam filters have become very efficient at filtering these emails from reaching your inbox, occasionally one may slip through. These emails often contain numerous spelling and punctuation errors, state false or inaccurate information, and usually claim to offer to sell prescription drugs directly without a prescription. It almost goes without saying that these emails are always an attempt to scam you. Furthermore, drugs that require a prescription do so for very good reasons and it can be dangerous and very illegal to acquire them without one, especially if it is a controlled substance.
Credit Reports, Mortgage Refinancing, and other Financial Products Scam
There are a great number of honest companies out there willing to provide credit consulting, mortgage refinancing, and other financial services. However, many scammers have achieved a lot of success in pretending to offer these services, when in reality they are looking to steal your information. Sometimes they outright steal someone''s identity through acquiring a social security number, address, employment information, etc. When this happens, the fraudsters might apply for credit cards, open bank accounts, and other unauthorized actions that damage your credit history and can cost you thousands.
Other times, they ask the victim to pay a fee for services or information offered free elsewhere. For example, most Americans are familiar with those "free credit report dot com" commercials on television. What a lot of people do not know is that the Federal Trade Commission has received numerous complaints from consumers who were charged unauthorized fees or have been enrolled in programs they did not want after signing up with this company. The fact is, Americans are entitled to a free credit report without having to get involved with a company whose reputability is questionable. More information is located at AnnualCreditReport.com, which, according to the FTC, is the only authorized source under federal law to get your free annual credit report.
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