December 16, 2020
How to Recognize a Financial Scam and Get Help
Most people think they are smart enough to recognize a scammer straightaway and avoid getting taken. However, millions of people get scammed every year by con artists who have nearly perfected the art and science of scamming people. Read on to find out some signs that you are caught up in a financial scam and how you can get help.
Offers That Are Too Good to Be True
Perhaps you get an email, text or piece of snail mail with an incredible offer. Maybe all you need to do is send a check, money order or gift card for a small amount, and you will get many times that amount back. If it seems too good to be true, it is. Nobody would contact you at random with a legitimate offer of free money or other rewards.
Contact From Someone
Scammers will do anything to gain your trust. A common scam is for someone to pretend to be a relative of yours. This is also called the “grandparent scam.” Someone calls you and pretends to be your grandchild or another loved one. They say they are stranded, and they need a few hundred dollars to get home, get out of jail or get out of some other conundrum. If you ever get one of these calls, hang up. Call the sheriff or call your loved one yourself in order to find out if they are really in a dire situation.
Unusual Transactions on Your Accounts
If you notice one or more unusual transactions on any of your accounts, you may be the victim of an active scam. A common scam starts with one or a few small transactions. The scammer is testing to see how much they can take out of your account. You might see small debits or transfers, such as $4.55 and $19.28, which are small amounts that you may not think much of. Then, you will notice a large transaction or a total draining of your account. If you don’t regularly check your accounts, you might end up with notices of overdrawn funds, delinquent payments on a card you didn’t know you had or new bills for cards you didn’t request.
How to Get Help If You Were Scammed
If you’ve been financially scammed, file a police report as soon as possible. Contact the credit bureaus, and send them a copy of your fraud report. Put an alert or freeze on your credit. Contact your bank and change accounts in order to prevent additional transactions. Contact the attorney general of your state. If you are a senior citizen and were scammed, additional resources may be available to you through elder affairs or the department of aging. If you are a veteran and were scammed, the Department of Veteran Affairs may offer help. For people with disabilities, the local developmental disabilities board may have additional resources or consumer protection assistance.