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12 Popular Financial Scams You Need to Know

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Scams are nothing new, but the digital age has given thieves virtually unlimited ways to separate you from your cash or sensitive financial information.

And these scams are not going away anytime soon.

According to First Orion, a provider of phone call and data transparency solutions, mobile phone scams are on an alarming path. First Orion’s research shows 3.7 percent of all mobile phone calls in 2017 were scams. This number skyrocketed to 29.2 percent in 2018, and First Orion projects it to rise to 44.6 percent of all mobile phone calls by early 2019.

The phone isn’t the only place scammers are trying to pull one over on you. Internet scams are up big time, too. According to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker, reported internet scams rose 99.3 percent to 44,866 cases in 2017. They’re on the rise again in 2018.

With these and other scams bombarding us, we must be prepared to dodge them. Here’s a rundown of 12 common scams the Federal Trade Commission warns consumers about and how to avoid being a victim.

1The Gift Card Scam

A relatively new scam in the ever-expanding realm of money grabbers is the gift-card grab. These scammers call you with what seems like something urgent, like an overdue bill or a huge lump sum of cash with your name on it, but they have a weird request: The only way they can release your prize or wipe out the debt is by you paying the overdue balance or “prize-release fees” with a gift card.

These scammers often ask for an iTunes card — I guess they’re Apple fans — but they’re sometimes good with whatever card you can get.

They will ask you to buy a card for a fixed amount and call them back with the card numbers and other details. Once they have this number, they can buy goods on your dime.

Why do these scammers love gift cards? It’s simple. They’re just like cash, and you rarely can reclaim cash you lost through a scam. Plus, it’s virtually impossible to trace a gift card. With a credit card, there will be a record of where the scammer used it, and you can file a fraud complaint and have the card issuer freeze it.

Scammers have targeted me countless times with this attempt the drain a few bucks from my bank account. They often claim to be part of the IRS or FBI, but the Federal Trade Commission reports scammers claiming to be with a utilities company, prize officials, a member of the military selling something before deployment or a lottery official.

If you’ve fallen victim to this scam, report it to the FTC and call the company that issued the gift card to report its use in a scam.

A relatively new scam in the ever-expanding realm of money grabbers is the gift-card grab. These scammers call you with what seems like something urgent, like an overdue bill or a huge lump sum of cash with your name on it, but they have a weird request: The only way they can release your prize or wipe out the debt is by you paying the overdue balance or “prize-release fees” with a gift card.

These scammers often ask for an iTunes card — I guess they’re Apple fans — but they’re sometimes good with whatever card you can get.

They will ask you to buy a card for a fixed amount and call them back with the card numbers and other details. Once they have this number, they can buy goods on your dime.

Why do these scammers love gift cards? It’s simple. They’re just like cash, and you rarely can reclaim cash you lost through a scam. Plus, it’s virtually impossible to trace a gift card. With a credit card, there will be a record of where the scammer used it, and you can file a fraud complaint and have the card issuer freeze it.

Scammers have targeted me countless times with this attempt the drain a few bucks from my bank account. They often claim to be part of the IRS or FBI, but the Federal Trade Commission reports scammers claiming to be with a utility company, prize officials, a member of the military selling something before deployment or a lottery official.

If you’ve fallen victim to this scam, report it to the FTC and call the company that issued the gift card to report its use in a scam.



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