Imposter scams – when criminals disguise their true identity, pretending to be someone trustworthy in an attempt to obtain money from their victims – can happen anywhere, and to anyone. Imposters go to great lengths to appear real and manipulate their victims, and we’re not seeing any sign of these scams slowing. In order to combat this growing trend, the Federal Trade Commission recently released educational videos and articles to help consumers and businesses alike avoid some of the most common imposter scams facing us today. We took a look at a couple of scams last week – the second of this two-part series discusses the others: grandkid and online dating scams.
This type of scam happens more commonly with the elderly, taking advantage of the bond between a grandparent and grandchild. However, anyone can be affected. Typically, the scammer will give you a call, claiming to be a grandchild or another family member, asking for money to get out of an accident or other fabricated incident.
Before you reach for your wallet, try to determine if the call is legitimate. Contact the person claiming to call directly. You should also check in with someone who knows the person, like a sibling, parent or friend. Don’t send money unless you’re positive the person calling is indeed who they say they are.
Online Dating Scams
In today’s digital world, more and more relationships are being formed via online dating sites. In many cases, relationships begin to develop online before ever actually meeting in person. The lack of face-to-face interaction is a perfect opportunity for a scammer to strike. Perhaps they’ll have a sick relative, or their car is just giving them all sorts of trouble, or they’re late with their rent. It’s a different excuse every time, with all requesting the same thing: money.