How to Recognize a Scam
Recognizing a scam isn’t as hard as you may think, when you know what to look or listen for. Most scams have similar characteristics according to the Federal Trade Commission, which include the following red flags:
Callers or Email contacts will impersonate an organization or entity you may know.
Common entities such as the FBI, IRS, Microsoft, Amazon, Publishers Clearing House etc. Remember that most of these entities will not reach out to you directly over the phone without you first initiating the conversation. You would typically receive a mailing to notify you if there truly was a problem or a communication through your account. Stop and verify before providing any information to any of these inquiries. If you aren’t sure, hang up and verify the entities contact number either through a phone book or online search and then call. Don’t call the number back that just called you.
Scammers will typically present you with a problem or a prize.
For example, Amazon may be contacting you regarding a charge that is coming out of your account. Publishers Clearing house may say you’ve won but you need to send money to pay the taxes first. Do not respond to these requests as they are phishing for your account information. Most online sites do not communicate via phone call, so again just hang up.
You may feel pressured to act quickly.
The quicker you respond, the less time you have to realize you may be getting scammed. Scammers will try to elicit an emotional response whether that is fear, joy, love, empathy or anger. If they can get you to become emotionally involved in the conversation, they’ve accomplished their goal to get you to cooperate with their requests. Many scenarios seem very extreme, like illegal substances, family member is in trouble, or that you are going to prison. Hang up and contact a trusted family member or contact to help you verify the validity of the call.
The payment they request isn’t a normal way to pay.
If you receive a request to make a payment with a gift card or a wire transfer, right away this would be considered a scam. Hang up and verify the conversation with a trusted person such as a family member or your banking institution.
What To Do If You Feel You May Have Fallen Victim To A Scam
If you feel that you may have fallen victim to a scam, don’t feel alone. The FTC received more than 2.2 million reports of fraud in 2020 with an estimated loss of $3.3 Billion. The best defense against scams is to educate yourself on the types of scams that are out there as well as knowing how to respond if you do find yourself in a situation.
Things you can do to avoid being scammed first and foremost is to not communicate with the scammer. Don’t answer or block calls from unrecognized numbers. If you answer a call, remember to not provide any personal data such as Social Security number, Birthdates, Account numbers, or login credentials. Hang up on any caller that is asking for you to verify any information, if you did not initiate the conversation.
Please feel free to contact Granite Bank, customer service with any questions regarding scams or any situation that you may be experiencing that resembles any of the fraud examples above. You may also visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/scam-alerts for more education regarding fraud.