As every new year starts, many of us make New Year’s resolutions to cut down on bad habits and increase good ones. Unfortunately, there’s one thing that you and I will never be able to cut down on, and that’s scams and scammers. In fact, it seems that every year there are more and more of them and they have newer and craftier scams going as they try and steal our money.
Luckily, even as scams have perpetually been a threat to one’s personal security and finances, the average scam is quite easy to avoid. For example, a quick check of any email will usually give some indication that it’s either genuine or fake, including typos, a mismatched identity and/or a company contacting you and asking directly for personal information. (Although, still and all, these scams keep happening because some people keep falling for them.)
In any case, three of the biggest scams of 2015 that you need to be on the lookout for, according to the BBB, are below. Enjoy.
The first is getting a phone call from the IRS and someone representing himself as an IRS employee, demanding money or payments. Here’s a simple, undeniable fact; the IRS will never call you. In fact they won’t email you either. Not only are they understaffed and simply don’t have the manpower to answer all of their phone calls, let alone make them, the only way the IRS contacts American consumers is through the United States Postal Service. Period. If you get a phone call from someone purporting to be an IRS agent or employee, they’re 100% definitely a scammer.
Another scam that’s growing in popularity is getting ‘friend requests’ on Facebook, the popular social media website. There are a number of scams that involve Facebook, including ones that involve an “old friend” suddenly contacting you out of the blue and telling you that you won money. This so-called friend will then tell you that you need to pay a fee in order to get the money, which you can bet you will never see again if you fall for this scam. When it comes to social media, it’s best to be prudent about who you approve as a friend and definitely be wary of anyone asking you to make any type of payment.
We mentioned emails above and said that, in most cases, it’s easy to spot a false one. On the other hand, not all email scams are as easy to spot, and some of them are quite convincing insomuch as the Logos, wording and font they use look genuinely like it came from a specific retailer or company. Many of these fake emails will use a variation of a legitimate domain name that’s so close you might not notice the difference.
Whatever the case may be, the best way to avoid being a victim of scammers is to be ever vigilant with your personal information and check your credit report regularly to make sure that no one has been using it to make illegal purchases. A good rule of thumb is simply this; if something doesn’t look right, report it, but definitely don’t click, call, send or interact with it in any way.