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A scam is an attempt, through deceit or trickery, to intentionally mislead someone, usually with the goal of financial gain. Traditional scams play upon the vulnerability of people by exploiting human virtues such as compassion and trust.
A common scam: the victim is usually sent a worthless check, which the victim then deposits into their account under the assumption that it is a legitimate transaction. The victim is then urged to forward a small portion of the value of the check to the trickster as cash, and quickly. The victim then does not have time to discover that the check is fraudulent.
There are many different types of scams, including deceptive lotteries, inheritances, employment opportunities, overpayment on sold items, and high-profit/no-risk offers. Below are some common scams and how you can protect yourself.
The scammer uses the VoIP tool with a modem to call phone numbers in a given region. When the consumer answers, an automated recording states that the consumer's credit card is showing fraudulent activity. The consumer is directed to call a specific toll free or local phone number immediately. The number dialed may show a spoofed caller ID for the financial company the scammer is pretending to represent. (Internet-telephone services do not require some of the verification checks used by traditional telephone companies; they provide telephone numbers with a choice of area codes that bear no relevance to the scammer's actual location.) In some cases, the thief already has the consumer's credit card number and will only ask for the three-digit code on the back of the credit card. This makes the call seem even more legitimate to the victim. Usually within 3 days of the call, the telephone line is disconnected. This, of course, makes it almost impossible to track the offender.
Lottery schemes tend to have one or more of the following characteristics, some things to look out for:
Protect Yourself From Lottery Scams
Inheritance scams try to deceive the victim into believing that a long-lost relative has passed away and left them a large sum of money. Scammers will go so far as to research family tree information to make the inheritance seem more believable. The victim may receive an email or an official-looking letter. These notifications often ask the victim to send a check to help cover expenses associated with their inheritance. Upon sending a check, the victim soon realizes they will not be receiving the money.
Protect Yourself From Inheritance Scams
Nigerian Letter or 419 Scam
This scam can begin with unsolicited communication from individuals representing themselves as Nigerian or foreign government officials. This so called "official" offers the victim a percentage of a large amount of money in exchange for your assistance in placing money in an overseas bank account(s). You may be asked to send your account numbers, or sometimes a cashier's check or wire.
Protect Yourself From Nigerian Letter or 419 Scam
Business Email Compromise Scam
This scam is designed to convince company employees who are responsible for executing financial transactions to wire funds to accounts that are controlled by the perpetrators of the scam. It generally targets businesses working with foreign suppliers and/or who regularly send wire transfer payments. Victims of this scam may purchase or supply a variety of goods or services.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a Public Service Announcement on January 22, 2015 identifying three main versions of the scam based on complaint data received since 2009.1
Why are Business Email Compromise scams successful?
Scammers usually hack an organization’s email system or gather information through public sources. As a result, these scams have been reported to be successful for the following reasons:
How to avoid becoming a victim of Business Email Compromise scams
For more information about the Business Email Compromise Scam, other internet crime schemes, internet crime prevention tips or to file a complaint, visit the
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) website