Robocalls. Robocalls, those automated calls that you often receive on your phone, are annoying. They may originate not only from aggressive telemarketers but also from scammers. The top three scams so far this year include Google listing scams, loan scams, and free vacation scams.
In the Google listing scam, scammers call small businesses and tell them that their Google (or Bing or Yahoo) listing is not up to date. For a price, the scammer will offer to help the small business update their listing.
Scammers will call victims offering to help lower loan rates or threaten to arrest them for loans that they claim are past due.
Other scammers will call saying that you have won a “free vacation.” They then use high pressure tactics to get credit card information for “taxes” or food and beverage packages.
The Invulnerability Illusion. We often think of scam victims as being people who are elderly, shut ins, or possibly immigrants. And while these populations can be vulnerable to scammers and fraudsters, a Better Business Bureau (BBB) survey finds that scam victims are not limited to those populations.
The survey finds that most people view scam victims as either pitied victims- vulnerable, elderly, or alone, or scorned victims- stupid, ignorant or lacking in common sense. The BBB points out scams are under reported due to the shame and stigma that is often associated with being a scam victim. It finds that those who do speak up after being victimized often are motivated with a desire to warn others of the danger.
The survey found that those who have been victimized by a scam or a fraud are often younger and better educated that many of us might assume to be the case. The survey also finds that knowledge of the existence of specific scams and frauds helps individuals to protect themselves from becoming victimized.
As with other forms of criminal activity, awareness helps all of us to take preventative measures that protects ourselves from becoming victims.
Better Business Bureau:
Zika Scams. Scammers frequently try to take advantage of high profile disasters to victimized honest people. The current publicity around the Zika virus is no exception. According to an AARP scam alert, scammers are pushing online offers for “miracle,” “dietary” or “natural” products that supposedly prevent or cure Zika. Many times these fake offers come in emails with alarming messages with “must-read” links that in reality launch computer viruses. Other scammers are hocking investment opportunities for companies that are supposedly developing products to stop Zika. And finally, scammers are promoting charity scams that claim to help victims or to fight the disease.
AARP points out that there currently is no vaccine to prevent the virus or a drug to treat it. Currently, the only known victims of the virus from mosquito bites are in the Miami, Florida area. The best protection from Zika is to prevent mosquito bites by wearing long sleeves, long pants and using insect repellent.
If you receive an email with any claims for “miracle” products, investment opportunities, or seeking support for charities helping Zika victims delete it without clinking on any links.