Fraud costs Americans billions of dollars each year. Scams and fraud are also one of the most reported crimes and most requested informational topics.
Here are some common scams to be aware of:
1. IRS scam – Many are familiar with this scam in which a caller purports to be from the IRS advising that you owe money and it needs to be paid immediately. They often request personal information such as Social Security number or your Social Security Number. They may threaten you with police action if payment is not received immediately.
Be aware that the IRS will serve you notice via mail for any outstanding debt and they will always provide you with the opportunity to appeal that debt. Also, they will not threaten you with police action.
2. Advance Fee Scheme – In this type of scam the actor may notify you that you have won a lottery, vacation or sweepstakes. Often they will send you a check for a large amount and advise that you only need to send back to them a check to cover the taxes. Unfortunately, only after you send them your valid check, you discover that the check they sent you has no value.
3. Contractor scam – This scam often involves a person or persons who contact you representing themselves as a contactor working in your local area providing services such as driveway sealing or roof repair. They often offer a discounted deal for their services and ask that you pay for half or in full before they begin work. Theses scammers will end up doing shoddy work, partial work, or even no work at all.
4. Online scams – A common online scam tactic comes via email. You may receive an email indicating that a certain account of yours needs updated or has been compromised. The email may ask for personal information such as date of birth, social security number, passwords, or bank information. Another email tactic is done by providing a link within the email. They want to to click on the link to take you to another site. This often results in a computer virus or your personal information being compromised.
Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of a Scam or Fraud:
1. If it seems too good to be true – it probably is!
2. Never give personal information over the phone or computer – especially if the person contacted you first.
3. Protect your personal information on social media outlets
4. Keep your computers protected by an up to date anti-virus
5. Always verify information from contractors, utility workers and telemarketers
6. Don’t be pressured into making a decision – scammers work off your fears
7. Always keep your home and vehicles locked at all times
8. Balance you checkbook and check credit card statements regularly
9. Get your free credit report annually at www.annualcreditreport.com or 877-322-8228
Idea/Concept: Trooper Angela Bieber
Videography: Erin O’Shea, Kline Kaufer
Video Editing: Kline Kaufer
Writing: Trooper Angela Bieber
Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by UPMC Susquehanna, The Penn Wells Hotel & Lodge