When it comes to safeguarding against scams, awareness is key. By being vigilant and recognizing consistent red flags, you can effectively thwart scammers in their tracks. Stay one step ahead and keep an eye out for these warning signs to protect yourself from falling victim to fraudulent schemes.
Unexpected contact – You receive unanticipated contact by phone, text, or email from an individual or organization regarding an invoice, order, delivery, or charge that you don’t know about.
Sense of Urgency – Scammers employ tactics to manipulate and create a fabricated sense of urgency, resorting to rude or aggressive language to pressure you into taking immediate action.
Unusual Payment Requests – Be cautious if someone asks you to make payments or send money through unconventional methods such as gift cards, cryptocurrency, payment apps, or online wire transfers to deceive you into paying for something, resolving a fabricated issue, claiming fake sweepstakes winnings, or promising unrealistically high returns on investments. .
Coercive Communication – threatening language, claiming that you owe money and using scare tactics like threatening to involve the police if immediate payment is not made.
Love Scam Trap – Watch out for a potential online love interest who showers you with romantic words but avoids meeting face-to-face. Be cautious of these “romantic emergencies” and avoid sending money to someone you haven’t met in person.
Homebuyers Specific … Particularly during the closing process, scammers employ deceptive tactics by sending fraudulent emails to homebuyers, impersonating trusted individuals such as the real estate agent, settlement agent, or legal representative. These spoofed emails contain fictitious instructions for wiring closing funds, putting unsuspecting homebuyers at risk of financial loss.
Always verify with your agent and another trusted individual like a settlement or mortgage officer that the request for funds is legitimate before transferring money.
If you feel that you have become a victim of such a scam, contact your bank or wire-transfer company immediately to ask for a wire recall. Responding as soon as possible may increase the likelihood you’ll be able to stop the transfer and/or recover your funds.
For more information, see Mortgage Closing Scams on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau website.
If you want to report a suspected crime, contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center or IC3. The nation’s central hub for reporting cyber crime is run by the FBI, the leading federal agency for investigating cybercrime. Go to their website for more information and to file a complaint.