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Some Common Scams

Grandparent Scam

Telephone scam where a caller claims to be a grandchild who is stranded and needs money urgently (e.g. - for bail or travel home).  The caller often gets the victim to provide a grandchild’s name, when the victim says something like, “Steven is that you?”, and the caller then acknowledges the name with something like "Yes, it's me Steven".  The caller will instruct the victim to withdraw cash from their bank and wire it to them by Western Union or to purchase pre-loaded payment cards or iTunes cards and provide the code numbers from the cards to the caller.

IRS Scam

Caller claims to be from the IRS and claims they have discovered an error in your tax reporting.  Caller says that if you don’t send payment immediately an arrest warrant will be issued, sometimes they claim the police are on the way to arrest you.  The scammers typically convince the victim to obtain a pre-loaded payment card, iTunes card, etc. then have the victim provide the code from the card over the phone.  They often have the victim mail the cards to a fictitious address (the cards are worthless at this point anyhow, because the scammer has the redemption code).   The real IRS will never call and demand money, it is always a scammer. The caller ID often is often disguised so it appears to be a local area code or even “911”.  In some similar versions of this scam the caller will claim to be the police calling about an outstanding warrant or the Court Clerk claiming you failed to appear for jury duty and must pay immediately or be arrested.

Microsoft Impersonator Scam

The caller claims to be from Microsoft or “Windows” and claim that they have learned that the victim’s computer has been infected with a virus that will cause the home computer become unusable.  The ultimate goal of the fraud varies depending upon which con artists are running it.  For example, they may try to sell the victim phony anti-virus protection or trick the victim into providing bank or credit card information.  Yet others convince the victim to allow remote access to their computer.

Door to Door Contractors

A “contractor” comes to your door and tells you that you need driveway or roof repair.  They will often mention your neighbor's name as a reference, and they usually want to be paid in advance.  If they do any work at all, they will likely use very poor quality materials and do substandard work.

Soldier Email

A “soldier” serving overseas will send an email needing money for his family or some other purpose.  The “soldier” is likely from a foreign country, whose government supports the scamming of Americans.

Romance Scam

The scammer will send an email, often posing as a "female" including photographs, attempting to establish a relationship leading to requests to have money sent to her.  The “female” is most likely a male, from a foreign country similar to the soldier email scam above.

Bank Account Email

An email is received from the bank alerting the recipient that their account has been temporarily shut down to protect it from identity theft or some other excuse.  The person receiving the email is then directed to a link to reactivate their account by “confirming” their account information.  The email and websites contain graphics copied from the real websites so that they look very genuine.

Credit Card or Bank Account Phone Call

A “manager” or “security officer” calls to inform you that someone has attempted to access your account; the caller just needs you to verify some account information before proceeding.
 
  • If receiving a suspicious phone call – HANG UP
  • If receiving a suspicious email – DELETE, DO NOT RESPOND
  • If a suspicious person is at your door, CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY