10 Worst Scams of 2019

ATTENTION: Consumers who have been contacted by scammers could have had their personal information breached. #REPORTSCAM highly recommends that consumers whose information has been breached obtain identity theft protection service immediately. There are several companies that offer identity theft protection in the US. One of the most inexpensive options we were able to find is the protection offered by LifeLock. You can start your protection here.
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Here are the top 10 scams targeting consumers around the world:

1. Remote PC Repair Scams

This scam originates out of India, as victims are contacted by a phone call from scam artists claiming to be a representative of a high-tech computer firm. The call is a warning to the victim that their computer has been infected or could be under the threat of being infected by a vicious malware virus that will severely damage their internal operating system. The alleged "representative" encourages the victim to go online and allow them to troubleshoot the computer. This will help to fix all of the related issues immediately.

The representative will use this time to infect the computer with a malware virus that will do severe damage to the internal operating system and force the owner to go to a third-party website to confirm the damage. The goal of this scam is to force the computer owner to immediately pay for unnecessary repair work over the phone by using a credit card.

First, never give anyone remote access to your computer, as you should hire a local repair service whenever possible. It’s rare that a PC representative would call a computer user to alert them of a virus threat. Unfortunately, too many individuals have fallen for this scam and often report their personal identity has been stolen soon after the phone encounter.

Identity theft risk -   HIGH  What does it mean?

2. Fake/Counterfeit Scam

Today’s internet world has brought a number of online stores to the forefront, as they cater to all particular needs. Often, it’s too difficult to determine which sites are legit or a threat to steal your personal information.

Many of these unreliable online stores are known to originate out of China, as they mimic actual websites that sell name brands. The attraction is selling popular items (which are counterfeit) at a reduced price to a very willing clientele.

The goal is to get them to make impulse purchases and provide their personal information that can be sold on the black market. In some cases, identity thieves will send their counterfeit products via the mail to unsuspecting victims to keep them clueless that their identity has been taken away from them.

Too often, large corporations are the first to discover these fake online stores and take immediate action to have them shut down. If you need to verify the authenticity of a website, then contact one of the brands that you’re interested to purchase by using the information provided on their contact page.

Identity theft risk -   HIGH  What does it mean?

3. Fraudulent/Fake Check Scam

One of the more popular scams currently taking place, as scam artists are convincing unknowing victims to accept a fraudulent check in exchange for cash. They send out an elaborate email detailing how they’re having troubles cashing a check, and would anyone be kind enough to help them gain immediate cash into the hands. Whoever responds to their request will receive an added bonus for their troubles. The endorsed check bounces and the victim is left with no money in their bank account.

Identity theft risk -   HIGH  What does it mean?

4. Pets-for-sale Scam

A pet-for-sale scam involves scammers creating a fake website that offers pet adoption or providing individuals an opportunity to make a donation to a fictitious animal nursery. The website showcases a wide variety of animals that can be adopted at significantly lower than the market price.

Victims are required to only pay for the insurance and other fees associated with shipping their new pet to their home. The only form of payment accepted is a Moneygram, Western Union or a non-returning money transfer to an overseas bank account.

Try to avoid paying for a pet by transferring money into another person’s bank account. ScamGuard can assist with securing information of reliable animal breeders in your area.

Identity theft risk -  LOW 

5. Grant Scam

This scheme involves scam artists purchasing legitimate consumer information from the top corporations in our country, as these businesses are led to believe this inquiry is an opportunity to offer some form of financial assistance to customers who have severe debt issues.

These scam artists pose as government officials that are offering a unique opportunity to gain grant money for a processing fee. The goal is to get the victims to give up their immediate savings for an opportunity to gain that last big payday. Plus after completing the scam, the personal information gained will be sold to the highest bidder on the black market.

Identity theft risk -   HIGH  What does it mean?

6. Collection Agency Scam

Scam Artists are well aware that collection agencies have the right to contact individuals who are behind in their monthly bills. They represent themselves as a representative of a fictitious collection agency that is threatening a lawsuit unless the victim settles their current debt issue. Some scam artists support their claims with actual information about the person’s bad credit history.

This type of scam can go on for a long period of time, as the phone call harassment will continue until the victim breaks down and makes a payment over the phone. A few months later, the same vicious cycle begins once again to acquire more money from a helpless victim.

Identity theft risk -   HIGH  What does it mean?

7. House/Vacation Property Rental Scam

The collapse of the housing market has made prospective owners opt toward renting a home and vacation properties. Scam artists have made this trend their new targets, as they advertise fictitious properties for rent. They attract victims with attractive pictures and detailed information on the property.

The suggested rental price will be well below the current market, as scam artists will only converse with prospective renters via VOIP phone number that’s located in a foreign country. After an agreement is in place, the first month’s rental payment must be made through a money transfer process.

Identity theft risk -  LOW 

8. Payday Loan Scam

Scam artists love prying on victims at their utmost vulnerable moment. Usually, during difficult financial times, victims resort to taking out a high-interest loan.

Scam artists use this situation by creating a website that entices desperate individuals to apply for a loan to clear the debt away. Representatives from these fake websites call victims to tell them they have qualified for a low-interest loan, but to gain immediate access to the money, the victim must pay a security fee. This payment entails verifying if the individual has the income necessary to repay the loan back. Other variations of this scam include requesting for bank account information to set up a direct deposit of the loan money. In the end, the loan never follows through, as the victim is out of the fee payment and still in debt.

Identity theft risk -   HIGH  What does it mean?

9. Timeshare Resale Scam

Timeshare property has been apart of the biggest scams for decades, as the thought of sharing an ideal vacation resort property at a reduced cost. The scam preys on the myth to unload the property for a large profit.

First, the timeshare owner must pay an upfront fee that includes an updated property appraisal, closing and broker’s fee. To protect yourself, read the contract closely because the wording can be confusing, yet still binding if you put your signature on the dotted line.

Identity theft risk -  LOW 

10. Working From Home Scam

Every person’s dream is working from home on an everyday basis. After all, it’s a dream to avoid the stresses of commuting back-and-forth from our homes to the workplace.

This scam centers around setting up a fictitious website that offers work-at-home position within the international shipping department. The victim goes through the interview process on instant messenger or email correspondence. Once hired, the company begins to send packages to the new employee’s home with explicit instructions on how to inspect the product before shipping it elsewhere.

Soon after, communication between the company and employee ceases, as they receive a fictitious paycheck that’s greater than time worked. Finally, the employee is able to get in contact with their employer about the overpayment in their paycheck. The company confirms the mistake and tells the employee to send the difference back before depositing the check. Unfortunately, the victim will receive notice that the paycheck has bounced with no recourse to recover the money from their vanished employer.

Identity theft risk -   HIGH  What does it mean?

To report a scam, please click here.

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