We used to tip off scammers by letting the community know what they were up to but now FBI gives us a list of red flags to look out for because scammers switch up how they do things if they read the same news we do. Here’s the deal, if you’ve been scammed once, it’s likely you’ll be scammed a second or third time. When they call us their pitches sound legit and even the romantic scams seem real. Many scammers prey on people that support non-profits because we post it online. Our FBI Charlotte office is launching a new public awareness message, “Scams change, red flags don’t.” No matter what type of story you hear via email, text, phone, social media, by mail or in person; scams change. We all need to be a detective regarding what we click and where we click it.
Here’s some red flags: If someone requests payment via gift cards, wire transfers, or virtual currency it’s a scam. Anyone calling and gives you a sense of an urgency or deadline to pay them money, or even demands secrecy on your end. Have you received one of those emails with poor grammar or misspellings, that’s a scam. Maybe someone offers payments with a higher price listed on any other sites or stores, that’s a red flag!
I bet your IT department at work sends reminders to not CLICK even when emails seem legitimate. How about those unsolicited emails, texts, etc., requesting you confirm usernames and/or passwords, and they may even requests to move to a new platform to communicate, that’s a red flag! You’ll be surprised how many people get scammed thinking that their bank needs account number and passwords. Lastly, don’t click links when you have second thoughts, please listen to your gut.