#happylife: Maintaining your financial health, protecting yourself from scammers
SPOKANE, Wash. — Nearly 51,000 people around the nation were scam victims in 2018, according to the Better Business Bureau. That number is up about 5% from 2017.
BBB’s 2018 Scam Tracker Risk Report listed some of the riskiest scams, along with some tips to help protect yourself from fraudsters.
The first, is employment scams. The way this works is fraudsters prey on people looking for a job. They make contact, say they’re from a big name company, then offer a job with a bunch of flashy benefits. Then the scam happens. Fraudsters will tell you to pay for an onboarding package or introduction fee before starting the job. Don’t pay it, it’s likely a scam.
One of the biggest red flags to look out for with employment scams, is if you didn’t even apply for the job to begin with. Start asking questions – where did they hear about you, how did they find your information?
It’s also important to remember, scammers are clever. they’ll study the location you’re in and certain traits to connect with you.
“The scammers are really, really, good about following the trends. We ended up having that brand new Amazon distribution center come up. So they’re going to flood the market with so many different scams,” said Tyler Russell, marketplace manager for BBB.
If you have concerns about a workplace or company, perhaps they’re private or you’ve never heard of them – BBB has a database where you can search to see business backgrounds and verify credibility.
Online Purchase Scams
This is a very common scam among fraudsters. Simply, a buyer makes a purchase online and the product they purchased never arrives. BBB says to never make payments through the internet that you don’t know of. Make sure the website is legitimate and it’s not just a spam link you’re visiting.
Fake Phone Calls
Many fraudsters will scam, via phone, and call people claiming to be the IRS. They’ll talk to you and make conversation about how they need your Social Security number. People who are older or rely on this type of funding tend to fall into this scam. Experts say to be very careful over the phone, sharing any kind of sensitive information like credit card numbers, personal identification numbers, etc.
Tax Refund Scams
It is tax season, so pay extra attention to this type of scam. Fraudsters will steal people’s information to file taxes as you and then claim your refund. This is an example of why you need to keep you personal identification numbers secure. Experts recommend checking your credit score at least once every four months to check on your account.
You can always check BBB’s website to look up companies you’re unsure of and report a scam.
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