The Most Common Scams Come in All Shapes and Sizes
Here’s a look at the common scams getting most of the attention.
If there’s one piece of advice to give to you regarding the most commons scams…and how to avoid them—it just might be this:
Never let your guard down.
Maybe that sounds a bit too extreme or impossible to do. It might be. However, I don’t say that to scare you or make it sound like we live with danger all around us.
Today, it’s not so much as con artists lurking on street corners, as it is scams made possible because of the furious growth in technology.
Fun. Informative. Free.
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Blame it on the internet.
Twenty-five years ago, the list of the common scams might have been a short one of maybe five or so. Here are some possible reasons for that.
- It’s possible that before the internet, law enforcement agencies didn’t share that much news with each other, so accounts of new scams weren’t made public.
- More likely, the internet itself—global and anonymous—has made it easier for scammers and con artists to plant the seeds of their scams.
- Last but not least, internet-based scams are some of the most common scams today. A lot of these devious cons didn’t exist before the internet went global and invaded our lives.
Today, scams are being created every day by crooks who live on the other side of town and on the other side of the world.
That doesn’t mean we know what those scams are.
The common scams of today.
Take a second and make a list…mental or written…of the kind of scams that come to mind. Maybe they’re scams you read about in the news, scams you’ve come across personally, or scams you’ve heard of from family or friends.
Compare the list you created to this one here: It’s the 2021 list of the most reported scams from a government website:
- Phishing. Using false emails and timely lies, con artists hook victims into giving up valuable information.
- Fake charities. Taking advantage of those willing to help others is about as low as it gets.
- Impersonators who threaten. They’re usually fake IRS agents who call with threats of police and prison.
- Social media scams. We’re so quick to click anything on our social media apps, and scammers know it.
- Stimulus payment or tax refund theft. You have money coming and scammers have plans to take part or all of it.
- Senior fraud. Programs for seniors get complicated, but “friendly” scammers are more than will willing to help out.
- Scams targeting non-English speakers. Scammers are fluent in many languages and now how to target their own country people.
- Unscrupulous tax preparers. Taxes are complicated to begin with, so it’s not surprising that fraudulent preparers steal from innocent citizens.
The Top Five Online Scams.
At the beginning of 2020, I started the Easy Prey podcast and EasyPrey.com. (You can read about my motivation for that here.) In addition to interviewing experts on a range of topics, I also posted articles on scams and fraud.
One of the articles was about the top five online scams—the ones that tend to lure more victims into their traps and steal more money.
You can find that article and a few more on the EasyPrey.com website.
If you’d like to subscribe to the podcast and get alerts on new episodes, click the link below.
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