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Spotting Common Fraud Scams
Eric McKinney
/ Categories: Security

Spotting Common Fraud Scams

Spotting Common Fraud Scams

These days, it can be all-too-easy to fall victim to scammers. However, becoming familiar with some of the common warning signs of fraudulent scammers can help you spot trouble before it’s too late. Here are some of the biggest red flags that you should look out for in order to keep your hard-earned finances where they belong.

Be Careful of Alternate Payment Methods

If you’re selling something online on a site like eBay, be cautious if somebody offers you anything but cash. In a world of new crypto-currencies emerging onto the market, it might be tempting to accept some new kind of e-coin or other cash alternative, but scammers have various ways to cheat you out of your money even when you’re the one who’s supposed to be collecting the cash.

For example, a common technique utilized by scammers is the cashier’s check routine: A buyer will offer to make a purchase by sending a cashier’s check, but will make the check out with the wrong amount, often a figure higher than the listed price of your item. They then ask that you deposit the check and wire them the overage. A few days after the transfer you discover that the check is fraudulent and that you’re the one responsible for paying back the bank if you have used the money in any capacity.

Emails Promising Money

Oftentimes, scammers will send a message or an email promising a large financial reward for wiring a modest dollar amount to their account or other financial windfalls. These messages can come in many forms, sometimes claiming that you have won a contest or the lottery. Or, a thief may ask that you send a small amount of money and they will wire a larger amount back to you (which of course never comes).

These messages are designed to look too good to be true so that, in your excitement, you wire money to an unsecure account. It is therefore crucial that you look at everything that seems a little too lucky with a grain of salt, as more often than not these messages come from a thief.

Wire Transfer Requests

Similar to the emails described above, if you receive a wire transfer request from anybody you don’t know, chances are someone is trying to scam you. There are very few legitimate reasons to make such a transfer, so always look at these requests with a great deal of scrutiny.

Some scammers will even go so far as to pose as a member of your family in order to try and get you to lower your guard. Luckily, these particular scammers will often request that you don’t mention their ‘money-troubles’ to the rest of your family, so they can be relatively easy to spot if you know to look out for that glaring red flag.

Threats or Hyperbole

A scammer’s goal is to manipulate your emotions to compel you to act outside of your better judgement. To best find out how to help people identify and protect themselves from such a manipulative scam, we sat down with Kristi Brewster, Eaton’s Operations Manager. She said, “In order to throw you off in such a way, they [scammers] will often use strongly worded language to evoke fear, excitement, or anger from you. For example, you might receive an email that tells you you might lose your job or go to jail if you don’t send in money.” Bearing this in mind, going forward you should always be wary of emails or messages that use this kind of hyperbolic language.

Emails That Just Don’t Look Quite Right

Sometimes, you can spot a scam just from the look of the message you receive. If something doesn’t feel or look trustworthy to you, oftentimes you should just trust your gut. The internet is a wide and wonderful place, but there are always going to be people out there who look to take advantage of everyday workers like you and me. However, keeping the tips outlined above in mind can help you make sure that your money stays your own.

For more tips and information, visit the Your Security section on our website.

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