The techniques are basic,
- Get people to act without thinking either by offering a deal too good to be true or scaring them with immediate dire consequences for them or a loved one.
- Require payment by wire or prepaid gift card which cannot be traced.
- Claim to be from a legitimate business or government entity.
- Final Expenses Mailer. Scammers send emails or postcards to the elderly claiming that if they pay a one-time administration fee they can get a $15,000 policy that will pay for their burial. If you pay there is no policy, the scammer has your money and your personal information to sell to other ID thieves.
- Genealogy Search Scam. While there are legitimate fee-based genealogy search sites, some have been set up by scammers that will ask for enough personal information that they can steal your identity. When you are looking for genealogy help online, be sure to that you are working with a reputable organization.
- American Red Cross Scam. For any natural disaster or catastrophe scammers will pretend to be from the American Red Cross or other relief organizations to take your money. During the Oso landslide and the MPHS tragedy scammers flooded email inboxes and phone lines claiming to be asking for money to help the victims. They play on your natural motivation to help. They want you to act before thinking. When you want to donate for a natural disaster be sure to verify that you are donating to a legitimate relief organization.
Identity Theft Resource Center:
For more information about scams that you might encounter go to:
Time Inc. Network:
Federal Trade Commission: