The Most Common Scams by State

If you’re a consumer, you’ve probably run into a scam or two. These can be anything from a bogus tax refund to a romantic relationship that’s going wrong. You may also be the victim of a phone scam, a phishing scam, or a tax-related identity theft. Learn more about these types of scams and how to avoid them.

Phone scams

There are several different types of phone scams that are designed to defraud people. The most common type of scam uses prerecorded messages and robocalls to make their calls appear legitimate. These scams are often made by a telemarketer or salesperson.

The main purpose of a phone scam is to get personal information from you. Scammers often try to pressure you into giving them information such as your credit card number, social security number, or bank account information. Unless you know the person calling you, do not provide this information.

If you are suspicious about a phone call, hang up immediately and do not give out any of your personal information. Instead, call the company or government agency yourself to verify the legitimacy of the call. You can also file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office or a federal agency if you believe you have been a victim of a phone scam.

Some phony government officials attempt to get victims to send them money for taxes, medical insurance, or other services. They ask for personal information and then claim you need to pay through a gift card or money transfer app.

Another common phone scam involves pretending to be an attorney or police officer. They may claim there is a complaint against you or that your Social Security number has been compromised.

In other cases, the caller might be a family member or friend. He or she may claim to know you personally or may tell you that your child is in trouble.

Sometimes these scams are disguised as charity appeals. When you receive a charity call, make sure to check the organization’s website first to ensure it is a reputable one.

Romance scams

Romance scams are one of the most popular types of internet-facilitated crimes. A recent survey by the Better Business Bureau found that online romance schemes cost American victims more than $1 billion in three years. The FBI has had some success reclaiming some of the stolen funds, but the success rate is relatively small.

The main goal of a romance scam is to create an illusion of a relationship, and then take advantage of the victim’s trust. They do this by creating a fake profile or social media account. These profiles contain phony pictures, fake information, and other misrepresentations that are intended to get the victim to give them money.

Romance scams are usually carried out through online dating sites or apps. Scammers may also make use of other forms of social networking, such as Facebook and Twitter. In addition, they may use photos from magazines or other sources.

Romance scams are usually perpetrated by overseas crooks. However, they can happen in real life as well. If you think you’re being cheated by someone, report the scam to your local authorities as soon as possible.

The FBI can help you with this, but state attorneys general can also offer advice. Their offices are well-versed in romance fraud and can dispel some common myths.

Although there is no guarantee that you’ll be able to recover any of the money you lose to a romance scam, reporting your experience will put investigators on your side. And the best part is that reporting can sometimes lead to the arrest of the crooks.

The best way to protect yourself is to never meet your prospective partner in person. Likewise, never send any money to an unknown person.

Imposter scams

Imposter scams are one of the most common types of fraud. Nearly half of all adults have been contacted by imposters. These scammers pose as friends or family members who are in need of money. They often use threatening tactics to scare victims into making rash decisions.

Many imposter scams take the form of emails or phone calls. Scammers may ask you to send them money via Western Union or prepaid gift cards. In addition to email and phone, they may also use social media.

The Social Security Administration recently launched an initiative aimed at combating these and other related scams. As part of the initiative, the agency is sharing tips for spotting and avoiding them.

According to the SSA, the most common imposter scams involve the Internal Revenue Service. You may get a call or letter from someone pretending to be an IRS agent. This person will attempt to scare you into thinking you owe back taxes.

Imposter scams are also very prevalent on dating websites. Scammers can create fake photos and personal traits for their online dating profiles.

Other forms of impostor scams include tech support scams. Tech support scammers can try to convince you to pay for useless services.

Social networking website imposters use messages from friends or family. However, if you are suspicious of any message, do not respond.

One of the biggest and most effective ways to avoid these types of scams is to never provide your credit card number or bank account information to a stranger. Instead, contact your local police department and ask them to verify that the person you are talking to is real.

When you receive a fraudulent email or telephone call, always run antivirus software and change your password. If you suspect your email account is compromised, contact your email provider for assistance.

Tax-related identity theft

Tax-related identity theft is a growing issue. Whether it be stolen mail, lost items, or discarded documents left unshredded, identity thieves are taking advantage of taxpayers’ personal information.

There are several ways to avoid becoming a victim. For starters, you should never give out your Social Security number over the phone. This is because it can be used for identity theft and other types of crimes.

The IRS has launched a number of security initiatives to protect taxpayer data. One of these is the Identity Protection PIN. In addition, the agency is expanding its electronic monitoring of tax return submissions.

If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft, you should contact the IRS or your state tax agency. Alternatively, you can contact the Federal Trade Commission for more information.

Identity theft can be a frustrating and debilitating situation. Although it’s not impossible to recover from, it can be a long, drawn-out process.

Identity theft is a type of crime that involves stealing a person’s name and Social Security number. Criminals know that people are afraid of hidden debts, so they use fear tactics to get information.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft is to be diligent about protecting your financial information. A good idea is to use a fraud alert. You can also place a credit alert if you think that someone may have used your Social Security number.

Another way to help prevent identity theft is to be vigilant about phony websites. A bogus site may look like a well-known company or government agency.

Another important security measure is to avoid carrying your Social Security card around. It’s not uncommon for criminals to open financial accounts with your identity.

Phishing

The California Secretary of State’s office recently discovered several official-looking emails that were sent out to Californians. These messages may be phishing scams.

These phishing scams use social engineering techniques to entice victims to give out their personal information. This information can be used to gain access to private accounts and steal your identity.

Scammers try to lure their targets into giving out personal information, like Social Security numbers or bank account information. This information can be used to open new accounts in your name, which is a very bad idea.

Phishing attacks are still the most common method of cybercrime. One recent study found that nearly one in three breaches in the first half of 2020 were caused by phishing.

Most phishing scams work by asking consumers to visit a site, usually a fake site, and provide their personal information. These links can redirect you to a phony website, which is often full of malicious code.

Another type of phishing attack is a phone call. The victim is instructed to dial a number and is then transferred to a malicious landing page. It may be disguised as a police call or even a government attempt to contact you.

In order to avoid becoming a victim of a phishing scam, look for the warning signs of a phishing email. For instance, if the email has a link to a website that is unfamiliar, it is likely a phishing scam.

You may also receive a phishing e-mail urging you to verify your account information immediately. Often, these scams ask you to provide sensitive information, like your password, credit card numbers, and ATM PIN number.