Whenever there is a tragedy or event, scammers get busy to feed on emotions and needs. The same happens with rioters – they only want an excuse to destroy, steal, pillage and plunder. Many are not concerned with the reasons of the protests.
When you see an offer, or someone calls, texts or emails you, with some incredible monetary plan, think carefully. Does it seem too good to be true? Is there little work on your part that should bring you riches? It’s probably a scam.
I recently dealt with one where an elderly person was approached to make money as a “mystery shopper” – he was told they would send him a check, which they did (3 of them). They said cash them and go to a store to buy gift cards, particularly Amazon ones. He would keep $200 of the $1000 check, buying $800 in gift cards. He would then call and read the card numbers and pin to them for each card.
The problem with this is – those checks are no good. They look legitimate, even as postal money orders. The bank cashed them – the tellers were obviously not trained very well to spot the issue. However, the checks will bounce later and put the victim in a bind. Meanwhile the Amazon cards that were called in were either used to purchase online or converted to cash.
There are flags to look for in checks. One is no bank phone number on the top left (if there is, don’t trust it though – Google the bank and gets its real number). Another is a fake watermark – where you see it in certain position in light without looking through it (just ink), but not a real watermark where you see it at an angle to direct light, through the check. Before cashing checks and money orders – have the post office check to see that the money order numbers haven’t already been used (usually they have and are no good). Call the issuing bank and ask about the check “they” issued. There are other flags, like check number on top right does not match the check number in the routing number. There are many flags to look for in fake checks and money order.
Fake lottery wins – a lottery scam will send an official looking letter, often to “Dear Lucky Winner” instead of a name. Look at the year of the “lottery” – might be years ago. It would not have taken years to find the “winner.” If they call and even from a foreign number – they want to set up a meeting or get information to “deposit” the money into an account. Do not meet with them – they might take your wallet, car, kidnap, or who knows what. DO not give any account information, even one with $10 in it. They want to get a bank number to clean out the victim’s money. If no money in it, they can use that bank account to set up a fake identity. Then they can open credits cards and more in the victim’s name.
Now there are “COVID” tests being sold – they are bogus. Go to a trusted source to get tested and they should be free. There are many other “COVID” products that give false hope or false protections. There are bogus hand sanitizers, bogus pills to prevent or cure the illness, bogus to-do plans to keep the virus away.
Google for reviews and information. Ask the post office, bank, your doctor, and any source you may have.
A scam that is harder to see coming – a few small purchases, even less than a dollar, might show up in your account so you might not notice them. Once they get a few charges to go through, they will run a big charge. Check your accounts often and the activity. Call your bank if something looks fishy.
The FBI says if someone keeps calling with a scam, block them, but realize they now know your number is good and will sell it off to other scammers. The best thing is answer – answer NO CALLS you don’t know or expect. If it’s important, they will leave a message and you can choose to call back, if you know what it’s about. The FBI takes on cases of large monetary losses – in 10’s of thousands of dollars, but smaller amounts need to be reported to local police. In most cases the tracks are too carefully concealed to track down, and nothing can be done, realistically and unfortunately.
The best defense to a scam is make no decisions, and research first, make calls, and let the emotional hope die down. Usually there are people who have fallen for similar scams and it csn be found on the Internet. Research first! PR Don't Get Scammed! Online Games, Surveys and Quizzes – Their Dangers FaceBook – is Your Friend Going to Compromise You? Rogue Facebook Friend Requests and How to Keep From Being Scammed Gift Card Scam