As technology evolves, so do the tactics of those seeking to defraud others. From phishing emails to socially engineered attacks, scammers have a myriad of ways to line their pockets with your money. In very sophisticated ways, a scam can be launched using email, phone, and social media platforms that can elude even the hyper vigilant. Psychological and emotionally manipulative messaging is employed to cloud the target’s judgement. And then after the crime is perpetuated, the scammer’s means of extortion are often untraceable.
It is important to stay as aware as possible of all communications you receive and the actions you take so you can steer clear of being scammed. To help, we put together the following 5 signs of a potential scam:
- An immediate romantic connection. The person you met online gains your trust by giving you exactly what you are seeking. They are quick to profess their love and quick to ask for financial help. They will usually live far enough away that meeting in person isn’t possible.
- Requests for personal or financial information. Phone calls, texts, and emails appear to come from a recognizable organization such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Social Security Administration, Medicare, or a utility company. Verify the legitimacy of the request as scammers are quite capable of masquerading as legitimate, existing organizations.
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- Communications that play on fear or urgency. You receive communication that you have won something or that you are delinquent and owe a sum of money. The prize will only be available if you act now. The nonpayment of some delinquency will result in your electricity being shut down.
- Details are difficult to obtain. The scammer is murky on the details of the offer, their own credentials, or their company. The interaction simply isn’t transparent, and you can’t get sufficient answers.
- Unusual payment methods. To avoid being traced, scammers will have you pay through wire transfers, gift cards, or cryptocurrency. An unusual payment method may very well indicate a scam.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in 2022, 2.4 million consumers filed reports of financial fraud. The losses totaled $8.8 billion. Those are reported losses. It can be assumed others do not report due to feelings of embarrassment and vulnerability. However, anyone can fall victim to financial fraud.
The globalization of our world, and the various ways we have to communicate now, has provided bad actors with a greater ability to infiltrate our lives. The best way to protect yourself is by recognizing the signs of a potential scam. Question, verify, and seek professional advice before making financial decisions or sharing personal information online or over the phone.
If you have questions about the information above, or if we can help with your financial planning in any way, call us today at 412-630-6000. Our experienced financial advisors are ready to help.
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