Scams are everywhere. There are new and more convincing scams everyday. It is important to be aware of some of the common kinds of scams to help keep you safe.
Protect Yourself by Knowing These "Red Flags"
- Uninitiated contact: The criminal contacted you; you did not ask to be contacted. If you don't provide personal information, they may not be able to defraud you! Delete the email, hang up the phone or shred the letter.
- The need for secrecy or confidentiality: You are on a "Winning List" which hasn't even been released yet. This is a "Chosen Few" opportunity. No one can know - not your spouse, your family or your closest friend.
- The need for urgency: The criminal will insist that you need to move on this right away! This offer is only good if you act now; Go down to your local WalMart, King Soopers or Safeway and wire money as soon as you hang up the phone.
- You must wire money: The criminal will emphasize the fact that you need to send the wire right away. He or she will also advise you to tell the clerk that you are wiring money to a relative. They never want you to tell the clerk what you are really doing. Remember this is a secret.
- You must send money to win money.
And lastly, you actually know this final red flag: This quote came out of the Great Depression and is just as true today as it was then: "If it sounds too good to be true… it probably is."
- You've Just Won Millions! - You might receive a call or a letter advising you that you have won millions in a lottery that you never signed up for. All you need to do is wire some money and the alleged lottery officials will send you your winnings. And, if you act right away they will even throw in a brand new car.
- Help! Send Me Money - You might receive a call from Canada and a young person says, "Grandpa or Grandma, guess who?" If you respond with the name of one of your grandchildren they will automatically say "that's right." Then they will go on to tell you a very sad story of how they went to Canada and either got arrested for DUI or involved in a serious traffic accident. They will tell you not to mention this to mom and dad because they will be very upset. The caller will ask you to wire money to help them get out of jail and back to the U.S.
- The Check is in the Mail - You may receive an actual check in the mail for several thousand dollars with a letter advising you that you have won a lot of money. This check is to help cover the cost of processing fees, attorney fees, etc. All you need to do is call the number on the letter, collect your instructions, deposit the check into your bank account, and immediately wire some or all of the check amount to the lottery officials.
- Rip-off Romeo - This shameful scam has you meeting a very nice guy through an online dating service who advises he works in Nigeria and owns a construction company. He continues to write and call you. He eventually asks you to help him financially with his business so he can wrap things up and get back to the U.S. to be with you. You wire him as much money as you can and then you never hear from him again.