Last September, we shared all the scams that had taken place up to that point in the year. At that time, there were 26 victims for a total loss of $470,313. Since our post, we have seen an additional 18 victims lose $341,422. One man wired $285,000 to China after he believed his boss was requesting the funds be transferred through an email scam.
Below is a break down on the types of scams, dollars lost, and payment methods. It also shows that scams affect all ages from young to old. These victims have varying degrees of education, socio-economic status, and life experience. Everyone is susceptible to being scammed.
Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch people off guard when they’re not expecting it. The best way to prevent a scam is to be alert to the fact that scams exist, and then learn what warning signs look like. Most scams work to incite panic and require a person to take immediate action. When the victim panics from a supposed missed bill or threat of arrest, their critical thinking shuts down. Scammers then take advantage of this panicked state and can convince people to divulge personal information and/or to give up money to remedy the situation. Many times, they will ask victims to send payments in non-traditional methods such as gift cards or wire transfers.
Talk to your friends and family about scams and help prevent them from falling victim to one of these scams. To learn more about the latest scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission website at www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts.