Scam Alert: Scams of the Month for August 2013

Many consumers take care to avoid any information concerning scams because it makes them uneasy. This isn’t wise, though, because the more you know, the safer you’ll be when scammers try to pull one over on you. Find here some basic details on the latest scams for August 2013 — and there are many — and use this information to protect yourself.

Email Hacking Scams

The Federal Trade Commission reports that there have recently been some email hacking occurrences people need to be aware of. The best way to know if your email account has been hacked into is to check with family and friends to see if they have received any odd email messages from you recently. If so, it’s likely someone has taken over your account.

By running all system updates on your computer, you can stop the hacker from sending out additional emails and obtaining personal information. Run malware software on your computer and delete any results. Change your passwords for your email accounts, social media accounts, and all of your online sites. The final step is to let people know that you were hacked, and it’s possible they were too if they opened an email sent from the hacker with your name attached to it.

Online Shopping Scams

To trick you into giving them your personal information, scammers lately have been setting up websites designed to look real sites for famous brands you’re used to buying from. Therefore, when you are on a seemingly benign site doing a search for a product or service, be sure to review it with a close eye. Check the bottom of the site to ensure that the name of the company listed there is the one you mean to buy from.

You can also research the site you’re thinking of buying something off of by typing in the company’s name and the word “scam” after it in your search engine. Doing this may pull up the information you need to know if you’re on the right site.

Scammers Posing as Government Officials

Immigrants across the United States have reported that they have been receiving calls and/or texts from people claiming to be government officials. These “officials” tell them that they owe money and need to pay quickly.

The reasons offered for the immigrants’ supposed debt are diverse. Some “officials” are telling people that money is owed in connection with a government-funded scholarship, and others are just telling them that they simply owe money, with no real explanation at all. Regardless of the reason offered, the fact is that no money is actually owed, and the “officials” are merely scammers trying to take advantage of individuals who are fairly new to the country.

Bogus Government Grant Scam

There’s a scam going on that involves fraudsters calling people and telling them that they have been awarded a government grant. As part of the call, the scammers ask for bank account information, which then leads to identity theft.

Phony Cash Lotteries and Sweepstakes

Numerous people are receiving letters in the mail from an “organization” stating they have won a foreign lottery or sweepstakes. The letters have cashier’s checks attached to them.

When you get one of these checks, it seems like a good deal, and in its letter the “organization” states you just have to wire the taxes and fees back to them before you deposit the check into your bank account. The problem is that the check isn’t real, and by the time you find that out, the money you sent to the scammer is gone.

Scammers Texting About “Compromised” Gmail Accounts

Scammers are using fraudulent text messages to deceive cell phone users into believing that their Gmail accounts have been compromised. The typical message is something like this: “User #25384: Your Gmail profile has been compromised. Text back SENDNOW in order to reactivate your account.” When recipients text back or click on a link within the text message, their sensitive personal information is taken.

What to Do if Confronted With a Scam

If you encounter any of the aforementioned scams, be careful so that you don’t end up paying a high price, and make sure you take appropriate action. Should a fraudster conducting one of these scams send you a message through the mail or electronically, do not respond under any circumstances, and if they contact you via phone, do not engage in any kind of dialogue with them. No matter which scam you are confronted with, be sure to contact the FTC with any details you have regarding the scheme.