Consumers scams are some of the scariest things out there. People band together to try and steal your information so that they can take advantage of you. They say they are from government agencies or they offer you a free vacation. Here are some of the most popular scams out there and how you can protect yourself:
Technical Support Scams
If a place that you have electronics through calls you about tech support, you are almost inclined to immediately jump on it. This is a common (and scary) scam. The call will likely begin with someone telling you you are having problems with your computer. They’ll ask you to enter a code into your computer, and if you do, you will have a crippling virus on your computer.
Fake Debt Collectors
People across the United States have reported that they’ve received calls from random debt collectors. Many of these collectors are trying to collect a debt that the consumer has never cashed in on, or on loans that they’ve never taken out. A debt collector is probably fake if they are seeking payment for a loan you did not take out, refuses to give you a mailing address or phone number, asks you for personal information or they try to scare you into paying the debt (that you don’t actually owe).
Government Grant Scams
Government grant scams are on of the most common consumers scams out there right now. These types of scams usually read (or sounds) something like: “Because you pay your income taxes on time, you have been awarded a free $12,500 government grant! To get your grant, simply give us your checking account information, and we will direct-deposit the grant into your bank account!”
Recently, many people have been getting phone calls informing the person that answers that they’ve won money or a luxury vacation. They may say that you won a sweepstakes (but you probably never entered one). You can usually identify these scams if you are asked to pay, you are required to wire money, you have to deposit a check they sent you, your notice was mailed by bulk rate or you get the call absolutely out of the blue.
Impersonation scams are common when it comes to the Internal Revenue Service. Sometimes people receive emails to update their personal information for the IRS (around tax time). People have also received calls impersonating IRS personnel. The person calling often says they are someone from the IRS, but they are not. They tell the person who answers the call that they owe the IRS money and that they have to pay it immediately to avoid leans on property, etc.
How You Can Protect Yourself
There are a few things you can do to guard yourself against government grant scams. Don’t ever give out your bank account information to anyone you don’t know. Also, don’t pay money to receive something that is supposedly “free.” Remember that just because they look and talk like a government agency does not mean they are a government agency. You can also register your number with the “Do Not Call” registry and avoid taking these calls altogether. If you do end up receiving one of these calls or other forms of communication, report it to the Federal Trade Commission.