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  • Steer Clear of these Common Scams in 2024

    Cybercriminals and fraudsters are only getting smarter. With sophisticated artificial intelligence (AI), scammers are developing new ways to target and trick people into sharing their personal information or money. Federal and state governments and other organizations are working to combat cybercriminals. To help you stay safe from fraudsters, we’ve compiled a list of common scams.


    Phone Scams

    • Robocalls: If you answer a phone, and it's a recorded message on the line instead of a live person, it's a robocall. These calls are trying to sell you something like an auto warranty or vacation. Hang up if you start to hear a recorded message, and block the number to reduce the amount of unwanted calls.  
    • QR Codes: Scammers can hide harmful links in QR codes to steal your personal information. These seemingly harmless square codes have become increasingly popular in recent years, allowing users to quickly access websites, promotions, or other digital content by simply scanning them with their smartphone cameras. However, cybercriminals have found a way to exploit this technology for their malicious purposes. To protect yourself from QR code scams, it's important to be cautious when scanning codes from unfamiliar sources. 

    • Text Scams: If you have a cell phone, you've likely received a text message from a strange, unknown phone number. A text message scam, known as smishing, is a tactic that scammers use to steal your money and personal information. Recently, people are receiving text messages impersonating financial institutions to say there's been suspicious activity detected.

    Imposter Scams

    There are many types of imposter scams out there, but they all operate the same way. An imposter scammer may call, text, or email to convince you they are someone else, typically someone in authority. Scammers can manipulate caller ID to make it seem like they are calling from an official government or business number.

    Government agencies typically initiate communication through a letter unless you contact them first. A common example currently is IRS imposters. These scammers will tell you you owe the IRS money and may threaten legal action. The IRS will not initiate contact with taxpayers through email, text messages, or social media channels.


    Romance Scams

    According to the Federal Trade Commission, people lost $1.3 billion to romance scams in 2022. These scammers prey on innocent people's emotions and vulnerability to gain their trust quickly and get their money easily. Even without stealing money, scammers build relationships with innocent people who, over time, will share personal information that can ultimately be used to steal their identity. This type of scam often goes unreported because of the victims' sense of shame over getting emotionally involved with a person that 1) didn't really exist and 2) stole from them.

    Student Loan Forgiveness Scams

    With the back and forth between student loan forgiveness, fraudsters target people by promising their student loans will be forgiven. These scammers may contact you via the phone or phony application sites created to collect your personal information, such as your Social Security number or bank account information. Verify loan forgiveness information by visiting the Department of Education website.

    Job Opportunity Scams

    The most common way to job hunt is online. However, there's been an increase in online job scams. These scammers are targeting job seekers, as it's an easy way to steal someone's personal information. The more you perform your due diligence while job hunting, the easier it will become to spot a scam. Avoid job listings without a job description or a vague description, requiring an upfront payment for equipment needed, or claiming no experience is necessary. Check the company website, social media platforms, reviews, and professional profiles to determine if the opportunity is real.

    How to Avoid a Scam: 

    Cybercriminals are getting smarter, and phony text messages and emails are harder to differentiate. There are ways to protect yourself from falling victim to these common scams.


    • Block unwanted calls and text messages.
    • Never share your personal or financial information in a response to a random request.
    • Don’t click on unknown links.
    • Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA).

    Reporting Scams

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) uses information from scam reports to build cases against scammers, spot trends, and share data about what is happening in your community. If you come across any scams, report it to the FTC. You should also alert your friends, family, and others in your community about a scam, to help other people to avoid falling victim to fraud.

    Unfortunately, scammers will always be around, constantly finding new ways to steal from you. Your best weapon of defense is education. The more you know about the scams and what to look out for, the better your chances are of not becoming a victim of a scammer.

    To learn more about protecting your identity and your money, check out our Security Center.




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