There are so many different scams that people are trying to pull off these days that I decided to Hub about some of them.
All too often it is our seniors who are the targets, which is so sad because they live on limited income as it is and are duped into paying someone hundreds if not thousands of dollars to a scammer and never get what was promised them.
Here is a list of scams I’ve read about and seen reported on news programs:
Mortgage Fraud: A scammer will call someone offering to find them lower rates on their mortgage for a fee. The scammer gets the victims credit card info and charges them the fee, often times hundreds of dollars, and then disappears.
Mystery Shopper ‘Job’: With so many people needing jobs, scammers are out there hoping that these job seekers will fall for their scam offering them a mystery shopping job.
It appears to be quick easy money for little work, and that is the first red flag. They offer to pay $300 to do a little shopping and test the effectiveness of a wire transfer service.
The way it works is you are offered to be sent a large check, sometimes for $2 – 3,000. Then you are instructed to take the check to the bank and cash it. Even though the check is fake, it can take the bank a couple of days to figure it out.
After the fake check is cashed, you are then told to keep $300 as salary and spend $100 shopping. You are asked to evaluate the shopping experience as part of your ‘job’. Then another part of the ‘job’ is to help them test the wire transfer service company by taking the rest of the money from the large check that was cashed, and wire transfer the money to evaluate the effectiveness of a transfer service.
By the time the bank has learned that the check is fake, you will have already wired the money to the scammer. Then YOU will end up owing the bank thousands of dollars because you brought them a fraudulent check.
Home Repair Scams: These types are rampant these days, especially in areas where storms have damaged property.
In these scams, the ‘contractor’ will come to your door and tell you that they have observed that your home has damage from the recent storm and offer to fix it for you. Of course they need money up front for materials and these scammers take the money and never return to do the work, or they will start the work, need more money for more materials and then disappear.
Another one is the driveway blacktop scam. They come to your door telling you they just finished a driveway job down the street and saw that your driveway could use a new surface. They ask for money up front and usually never return.
Anytime a person approaches you for a contractor / repair job, ask to see their contractor’s license. These licenses have a number you can verify and in some states it’s required to have that number on their trucks and business cards as well as their written contracts.
While it is common with legitimate contractors to require money up front for materials, NEVER do this without a legitimate contract signed by them and you. And never sign a contract with a person that you cannot verify their contractor’s number with your state’s attorney generals website or via a phone call to them.
Online Auction Scam: This scam targets buyers and sellers.
Fraudulent sellers will tell someone who purchased an item from them to wire transfer the money for quicker shipping. Wire transfers are hard to track down so you can be guaranteed that if you wire transfer money to someone you do not know, your money is gone forever.
Fraudulent buyers are using a scam that involves fake PayPal receipts. People selling items on the Internet are receiving an email for a PayPal payment; believing that they have received payment for the item they are selling, they ship the item to the person on the fake receipt. The receipt turns out to be fake and they never receive payment for the item they sent out. And usually the fraudulent buyer is using a PO Box under an assumed name.
Please note, the majority of auction sites have safe and legitimate transactions every day, however there are some scammers out there so be aware! If you receive an email of a PayPal receipt, be sure to log into your PayPal account and see for yourself that the payment is really there before shipping an item out.
Lottery Winner Scam: One of the oldest and still rampant scams is the “You’ve Won” scam where you receive a check in the mail for sometimes thousands of dollars and a letter stating you won a lottery (usually in another country). They tell you that all you need to do is to cash the check and wire transfer them a portion for their fee. However, once your bank figures out its fake, you are responsible for that loss of money to the bank and the cash you wired is poof…gone and untraceable!
Grandma/Grandpa it’s Me: This scam really pisses me off. It’s so disgusting that people will do this to our seniors.
The scammer calls up an elderly person and using techniques to make the connection poor like holding the phone away from their mouth or having background noise they say “Grandma / Grandpa it’s Me, I need help”, often they are in trouble somewhere and are afraid to call mom or dad and ask ‘grandma or grandpa’ to wire them money for a plane or bus ticket.