Scams: How to Recognize and Avoid Them
Scams are rampant, with new ones popping up all the time as scammers adapt to new technologies, the latest trends and current events. Fraudsters perpetrate scams through phone calls, mail solicitations, emails, phony websites, online ads and by going door-to-door. Con artists often target older adults because they are frequently home during the day, have money saved, and may be too polite to hang up the phone or turn away a solicitor.
To avoid getting conned, be on the lookout for these Red Flags of a Scam:
- Being asked to pay money in order to receive a prize
- Pressure to act immediately
- Use of scare tactics, e.g. telling you a loved one is in danger, that your computer has been hacked or threatening arrest if you don’t act now
- Insistence that you pay via gift cards, wire transfer or cryptocurrency
- Get-rich-quick and other promises that sound too good to be true
- Promises to recover money you’ve lost in other scams, for a fee
One way to avoid scams perpetrated over the phone is to add your number to the Do Not Call Registry by going to donotcall.gov. Telemarketers are forbidden from contacting you if your number is on the registry, although political and charitable organizations, as well as businesses with which you already have an existing relationship, are still allowed to call you. Being on the registry won’t prevent scammers from calling since they usually disregard the Do Not Call Registry. That means that if you get a call from a telemarketer and you know you are on the Do Not Call Registry, you know it is a scam.