Your Guide to Outsmarting Scammers
Do not become a victim of fraud. Protect your hard-earned money by gaining a basic understanding of how scammers work and the common tactics they use. Learning how to invest safely can also assist you in reaching your financial goals and avoid becoming a victim. Review the following scams to learn what to look out for and how to avoid falling prey to scammers.
Home improvement projects can be overwhelming and hiring a contractor often times helps to ease the tension. However, scammers sometimes appear at your door, offering their services for what sounds like a good deal, but may take your money and run. These contractors will continually move around to avoid contact with law enforcement and past customers. Be sure to appropriately identify the trae partner you decide to work with and ensure their license is active and valid.
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Utility Company Scam
A recent tactic among scammers is to pose as a representative of your utility company in order to obtain cash or personal financial information. These fraudsters contact you by phone, email or through the internet and often times seem very legitimate.
Phone/ E-Mail Pitch: You receive a phone call or email explaining that an agency is offering to pay your utility bill as a part of a government approved program. They ask for your social security number and bank account information in order to pay your bill. The bill is never paid and your financial information has been compromised.
These scammers will also pose as utility company representatives and try and scare you into believing your utility bill is past due and demand payment before your lights are cut off. Once they have your financial information they hang up never to be heard from again.
Target: Anyone with a local utility account especially seniors who may live alone.
Result: You have compromised your credit card information or even given a credit card payment to someone posing as your utility company.
How to avoid this scam: Your utility company will never call or email you demanding payments. If you receive a phone call or email and are unsure whether it is legitimate you should hang up and call your utility company directly to confirm your account information and billing status. Never give out personal financial information over the phone, online, or the internet unless you are positive of the legitimacy of the recipient.