Falling for Scams: Do You Worry About Your Friends and Family?
With so many people falling for scams, we need to do something to help others stay safe.
It’s safe to say that virtually everyone you know has been approached or contacted by a scammer sometime in the past year. Maybe even within the past six months—or even the past six weeks. Scammers are relentless in their approach, which is why we’re still falling for scams.
Ask yourself when a potential scammer last reached out to you. Think about it:
- When was the last time you got a recorded message from a credit card company?
- Have you gotten a call from the the IRS saying you owed back taxes?
- Did you receive an email or see a pop-up ad saying your computer was infected with a virus?
- Get an Amazon receipt for a big-screen TV purchase you didn’t make?
Fun. Informative. Free.
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Looking at short list above, here’s what you probably know:
- Credit card companies don’t call customers out of the blue. They will usually use email alerts first.
- The IRS never calls people to discuss tax situations. It’s always by mail.
- Fake “computer virus” messages are common and are a major scam approach and problem.
- The use of clever, phony email addresses in the “from” section are another common scam technique
Maybe you know all this already. But there’s a good chance that people you care about—friends and family who are young or old, computer savvy or not, aren’t aware of the kinds of tricks and traps that out there. Scams and fraud that exist online and in the real world can potentially snare every single one of us if we’re not prepared.
Even if your friends and family know about scams, they could still fall victim to a clever con artist or fraudster, even accidentally. Fact is, more people are falling for scams than ever.
Two realities about the world around us.
- Everyone is target for a scam. Most scammers cast a wide net in hopes of finding a victim. They often target thousands of people via email or phone calls. Most of the time they don’t know who they’re calling, and they don’t care. They know that sooner or later someone (maybe just two percent of the people they reach) will end up falling for the scammer’s lie.
- For every legitimate venture, there is scam version of it. Isn’t that upsetting when you stop to think about it? Name just about anything good or worthwhile that you can get involved with, and there is a scam somehow tied to it. Just about anything! For instance…
- Baseball cards. Scammers know how some fans will pay top dollar for rare cards. So, they devise all types of scams to steal thousands.
- Investments. Scammers know all about greed, it’s their business. They also know that investors want to make lots of money fast on great investments. So, scammers create their own fake investment ideas.
- Unemployment benefits. When people are out of work, they need unemployment benefits and money to pay bills. Scammers jump right into the scene with schemes to steal checks or steal money right from the needy. During the pandemic, unemployment fraud was sky high. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes warnings constantly.
- Charities. Whenever there is a disaster, you can count on fraudulent charities to pop up too. Heck, who needs a disaster? There are fraudulent charities out their every day of the year.
- Love. Romance scams continue to be one of the major problems that online dating platforms face. However, romance scams can start anywhere…even face to face. I talked to a romance scam expert on my Easy Prey podcast. Here’s the link.
What makes us “easy prey?”
One of the blogs on Easyprey.com asks, and does a pretty good job to answer that important question: “What Makes Us Easy Prey?” I think you’ll find it an interesting article and I encourage you to share it with those you care about. With so many people falling for scams, it’s a must read and a must share with friends and family.
I also encourage you to look at the dozens of episodes on my Easy Prey podcast. I’m certain you’re find more than a few that interest you. In 2020, I started the Easy Prey podcast with the sole purpose of creating greater awareness of fraud.
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