How to Avoid Common Money Scams

Everyone has been the target of at least one financial scam.

Unfortunately, many people in serious debt are desperate for relief and fall victim to these scams. The FBI reports that US citizens lose millions of dollars annually to scammers.

Don’t Let Thieves Trick You out Of Your Money.

Here are common scams to watch out for:

  1. Beneficiary of a Will. In this scam, you receive an email claiming that you are the beneficiary of a will and that you will inherit a very large sum of money. All you need to do to claim your “inheritance” is provide your social security and bank account numbers. Unfortunately, rich dead relatives don’t just appear out of nowhere. If you are the beneficiary of someone you’ve never met or heard of, assume it is a scam.
  2. Requests to Overpay. This is a common scam for people selling things online via Craigslist or other online sales sites. The “purchaser” asks to buy whatever you’ve listed for more than the asking price, but also requests that you send the extra money back to them. You’ll receive a counterfeit check or money order, and then lose the money you send as well as whatever you were selling!
  3. Phishing. This is when a scammer creates an email that looks like it comes from a legitimate company, such as your bank. The email asks you to reply and verify your account information and login. Legitimate companies never request account information via email. If you receive a phishing email, be sure to contact the company it is purporting to be from to alert them.
  4. Donation Solicitations. After a disaster, many people want to donate to help. Be sure that you are donating to a legitimate organization and not to someone trying to profit off another’s misfortune. Take some time to research the organization before donating your money. Never reply to an email requesting a donation with your bank account information.
  5. Lottery Scams. Lottery scams take many forms. If you’ve “won” a lottery you never bought a ticket for, it is a scam. Some scammers will claim you have won but must first wire money for “taxes and fees.” True lottery winners are not required to pay fees to collect their winnings.

Be very cautious with your financial information. It is never smart to give out financial information to someone who requests it over the internet. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. If you or someone you know has been the victim of a financial scam, report it to your local police department.


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