Colorado Bureau of Investigation is offering a free webinar to discuss frequently reported scams during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some tricks the scammers use:
Spoofing phone numbers: Criminals make your caller ID show a number that is not their number. It could be a trusted number, your own number, even 911!
Fake Websites or Email Addresses: Scammers set up fake websites and email addresses that look very similar to the legitimate sites, or hack into an email to make it look like someone you trust is emailing you!
Urgency: Scammers will tell you that you must reply NOW and pay NOW!
Telling you not to hang up: A scammer will tell you that you cannot hang up. They are doing this so that you cannot check out their story or be discouraged to give them money by someone with whom you interact. They also want to increase your fear level!
Threats of arrest: The scammers will threaten to arrest you, or issue a warrant for your arrest if you do not do what they say (usually give them money and personal information)!
Purchase of Gift Cards: No government agency or business is going to instruct you to purchase gift cards or virtual currency (like Bit Coin) to make a payment or handle a fine.
Social Security Number (SSN) Scam: The scammer will call posing as an employee from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or a law enforcement officer, tricking people into providing their full SSN or payment for bogus fines. (Gift Cards, Cash) – SSA will NEVER call you asking for your full SSN or request a payment.
Government Official Impostor (IRS, Law Enforcement): This is similar to the SSN Scam. Scammers call pretending to be from a government agency and try to scare you into thinking you are in trouble. They say you have a warrant for your arrest, they then request payment or you will be arrested. Law Enforcement will never call you regarding a warrant. IRS imposters like to say “You have unpaid taxes and now there is a lawsuit against you” then request money. False, the IRS will never call you; they will always send a letter.
Romance Scams: I LOVE YOU-Send me ALL your money! This is when a person you meet online grooms you and makes you feel like they are so in love with you, then request money and promise to stay with you forever. We all want to be loved, but when a person starts requesting money that is NOT love!
“Grandparent” Scam: Scammers call posing as a grandchild or loved one in distress. They could also claim to be a lawyer or law enforcement calling on behalf of the loved one. They say your loved one is in trouble and needs money to be sent or wired to them immediately. Sometimes they ask for gift cards or virtual currency. We all love our family and want to help! Inform the caller you will call them back, then contact that relative to reassure you are sending your money to your loved one and not a scammer.
Work-at-home Scams: If it sounds too good to be true, it is. Scammers are contacting individuals via email, phone or text messages advertising ways to make good money and doing it form the luxury of your own home. They might also post fake job announcements on sites like LinkedIn, Craigslist or job sites. The scammers then send you a check and request you deposit it in your personal account, keep a portion for your salary, then send them the remaining balance. Check bounces and YOU the victim owe your bank because the check was fraudulent! Now YOUR account is in the negative. Always verify with the company that the job is real. Use the company website to get contact info. Do not trust what is in the ad.
Online Market Place Scams: Buying and selling items online can be tricky. So can renting an apartment or planning a vacation. Beware that criminals will often post fake ads on sites like Craigslist, Facebook Messenger, Zillow or similar sites. They might be selling tickets to an event, a household item or a vehicle, or renting an apartment or vacation home. The scammer will sell you something that doesn’t exist. You are out the money and never get your purchase. Or, they will pose as a buyer and send you money to pay. But they send you too much money and ask you to forward cash to shipper or other 3rd party. You will be out the money and owe your bank! Always confirm details of any ad. Try to buy and sell locally. Only deal with trusted businesses for tickets or home rentals.