Monthly Archives: February 2021

What Are Some Common Types of Scams?

Scammers are experts at deceiving unsuspecting people into revealing personal information in order to exploit it. They’re constantly finding new ways to steal money or identities, and many times they succeed with no repercussions.

There are many different types of scams — from general fraudulent emails to lottery schemes and romance fraud. You can protect yourself by knowing what to look out for. If you see any of the red flags listed below, proceed with extreme caution and do more investigating before parting with your money or information.

14 Types of Scams and Fraud

Advance-Fee Schemes
When someone has to pay upfront for something of great value — like a reward, a loan, or a gift — but they never receive it, they’re a victim of an advance-fee scheme.

Charity and Disaster Fraud
Scammers will seek donations for organizations that do little or no work, and they’re especially common after high-profile disasters like hurricanes or pandemics.

Credit Card Fraud
The unauthorized use of a credit or debit card, or card number, to fraudulently obtain money or property is probably the most common scam around.

Funeral and Cemetery Scams
Because regulations for prepaid funeral services vary from state to state, there are plenty of unscrupulous operators happy to overcharge expenses and list themselves as beneficiaries.

Healthcare or Health Insurance Fraud
It’s very common for individuals, groups of people, or companies to knowingly misrepresent facts about the type, scope, the nature of medical treatment or service provided, resulting in unauthorized payments.

Identity Theft
More and more, people are succeeding in assuming the identity of others to perform a fraud or other criminal act.

Illegal Sports Betting
Illegal sports betting has real consequences for those placing and receiving wagers, as well as the safety of the American public.

Internet Fraud
Far too often, people will use the internet or to defraud victims or to otherwise take advantage of them. Many use ransomware to access your computer files, systems, or networks, and demand you pay a ransom for their return.

IRS Scams
Now more than ever, scammers are making calls, pretending to be from the IRS and saying they’re filing a lawsuit against you for back taxes. According to the IRS website, “The IRS doesn’t initiate contact with taxpayers by email, text messages or social media channels to request personal or financial information.”

Lottery and Inheritance Scams
In recent years, lottery and inheritance scams have become popular, with criminals contacting unsuspecting people to inform them that they have won a large sum of the money, either in a lottery or in an inheritance from a relative. The schemers will even produce documents that appear to be legitimate, such as official checks, contracts, wills, or award letters.

Nigerian Letter or “419” Fraud
This scam combines the threat of impersonation fraud with the advance-fee scheme. Someone will mail or email a letter from Nigeria offering the “opportunity” to share in a percentage of millions of dollars that this self-proclaimed government official — is actually trying to transfer illegally out of Nigeria.

Ponzi & Pyramid Schemes
Ponzi schemes promise high financial returns or dividends not available through traditional investments. Instead, the con artist pays “dividends” to initial investors using the funds of subsequent investors. In a pyramid scheme, the money collected from newer victims of pyramid schemes is paid to earlier victims to provide a veneer of legitimacy.

Romance Scams
With social media and dating sites, many criminals adopt fake online identities to gain a victim’s affection and trust. Then they fake a close relationship to manipulate and/or steal from the victim.

Social Security Scams
Scammers pretend to be from the Social Security Administration attempting to get your social security number or money.

What to Do If You Think You’ve Been Scammed

To report a scam, you can submit a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Other options include contacting your local police or sheriff’s office or meeting with a private investigator to get the truth.

This entry was posted in Hiring a Private Investigator, Internet Safety, Safety. Bookmark the permalink.

The Dangers of Online Dating Scams

Millions of people join online dating sites or apps to meet someone – and many of them do so successfully. For others, instead of finding romance, they become a victim of online dating scams. In fact, people reported losing $201 million to online dating scammers in 2019 alone.

So, how can you avoid being swindled by these criminals? Read on for some tips.

The Lies Scammers on Dating Sites Say

Scam artists who perpetrate online dating and romance scams use emotional appeals to quickly gain their victims’ trust and then, just as quickly, exploit it. Many use bogus profiles to con the people they meet out of hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Many of the common lies scammers on dating sites have been known to share involve their line of work. They’ll say they’re living or traveling outside of the United States, they’re in the military, working on an oil rig, or a doctor with an international organization. These claims make it seem like they’re wealthy, successful, or have an exciting lifestyle.

After some time working on gaining their victim’s trust, romance scammers have been known to ask their targets for money to pay for things like:

  • customs fees to retrieve something
  • medical expenses
  • pay off gambling debts
  • plane ticket or other travel expenses
  • visa or other official travel documents

How to Protect Yourself from Online Dating Scams

Exercise an appropriate level of caution when looking for a relationship online and to be careful about sharing personal information, photos, and money with people you’ve never met. Also, keep your communication on the dating site—scammers on dating sites will often ask their victims to use personal email or direct messaging to keep their schemes under law enforcement’s radar. If you suspect you’re facing a romance scam:

  • Stop communicating with the person immediately
  • Talk to someone you trust and see if they express concern about your new love interest
  • Conduct a search of the person and/or the type of job the person has to see if other people have heard similar stories
  • Do a reverse image search of the person’ profile picture to see if it’s associated with another name or with details that don’t match up
  • Don’t fall for claims of “love” if you confront them with evidence of their lies

If you need help with your research or you’ve gotten in too far, a private investigator is always a good solution to online dating scams. These experts can help you dig up information and present your findings to law enforcement. Follow your gut!

This entry was posted in Hiring a Private Investigator, Private Investigations, Safety. Bookmark the permalink.