Money scams propagate faster than weeds. As soon as the scammer is caught and the authorities are alerted to shut it down, a new one pops up.
You work hard for your money. You are doing everything you can to build a healthy financial life, such as budgeting, saving, reducing debt, checking your credit report and so forth. The last thing you need is to fall victim to money scams.
Fraud.org found that the primary platform that scammers are using today is online retail sites. With the amount of online shopping happening around the world today, scammers have unprecedented access to you and your money. Scams by phone and email come in second and third place.
Top 6 Money Scams in 2018
Personal Loan Scams
We are a P2p lending platform. Our business is to help you get on with your life by offering online loans to cover your financial needs, such as debt consolidation or weddings, or uncovered medical expenses. Unfortunately, money scams can be found in the online lending industry too.
How do you know if the online loan is a scam?
- They say they don’t need to check your credit score.
- The online lender asks for an upfront fee or collateral.
- You receive unsolicited offers for a personal loan. This comes in your email, along with a very generous offer and a special link to follow. Never click on that link!
- The lender has no physical address. Even online lenders have offices. You should see an address, phone number, website, and email contact information.
Bottom line, even when pressed for an online loan, take your time, do your research and be careful.
Phony Fintech Apps
The popularity of mobile apps has created fertile ground for money scammers. They create look-a-like apps that make you think the app is from one of the major banks. A multi-national security firm, Avast found that worldwide, one out of three consumers mistakenly downloaded a fake app. When you download the fake app, you open up your personal identity and financial data to the scammers.
Airbnb is a great platform for entrepreneurs, especially in developing countries. It is hugely successful. No wonder, fraudsters would target this platform for one of their money scams. What happens is scammers post a phony Airbnb rental, providing a link where you finalize payment. They use real photos of homes that they have found on the internet. Once the deal is closed, you unwittingly send your final payment to scammers for a rental property that doesn’t exist.
Gift Card Money Scams
According to the Better Business Bureau, consumers are getting emails offering a free service that will check their gift card balances. You don’t need this free service. You can find out your gift card balance by visiting the retailer’s website. The email comes with links, and once you click on the link, scammers have access to your card number and PIN. The best defense is to use your gift cards as soon as possible. And be sure to register your gift card with the retailer so you can keep track of activity on the card.
Fake Ads on Instagram
Social media platforms offer unlimited opportunities to reach consumers. These platforms also help you to research a product or service before you invest your money. You can check out online reviews, post a photo to your friends to see if anyone has used the service or purchased products from the retailer. Instagram’s popularity also makes it a favorite for money scams. What happens is that fraudsters post fake ads showcasing a product. You purchase and then receive a knock-off version of the product worth much less than what you paid.
What can you do? According to Instagram, you should always check the retailer’s profile details. Look for their location, date they joined Instagram, how they describe themselves and the full list of ads they are running. If you are seeing misleading ads, you can report it to Instagram.
Law enforcement caught up with the skimmer scam, forcing the thieves to invent something new. The newest is called shimmers, which is a very thin piece of paper that thieves place inside ATMs. The shimmer can access the EMV chip on your debit or credit card and it can read your credit card number. According to FICO the incidents of credit/debit cards being compromised at ATMs due to shimmers is on the rise.
Unfortunately, there are hundreds of money scams today. You must use caution with all of your purchasing and financial transactions, especially in our digitized world where data can easily be compromised and used to steal your money.