If you’re the victim of fraud, it means one thing: you were fooled by a criminal or a criminal organization, and you probably lost a bit of money as a result. There’s no shame in it. Millions of fraudulent operations are conducted around the globe every day, and law enforcement agencies have a difficult time trailing even just the ones you know about. The best way to prevent fraud is to know what it looks like, and thereby gain an upper hand in avoiding it altogether. Here are some of the most common types of fraud that you can look for.
If you’ve ever taken a quick look at the spam folder in your email box, then you’ve probably seen about a thousand emails that beg for money. The reasons stated for which someone might need money are innumerable. An estranged family relative has died, and you need to send a check in order to gain access to the last will and testament, which coincidentally will provide you with millions of dollars upon completion. Many people will receive emails from girls in Nigeria hoping to find a man who will pay for them to come to America–and oh my god, she has three chests of gold than she needs to bribe through customs! Email fraud is often identifiable because they ask you to provide bits of personal information or require you to make bank transfers or buy money orders to send elsewhere. Be careful.
Phishing scams come as the result of website misdirection. There are companies out there who make millions off of unwitting consumers who think they’re on a popular page–like Amazon or YouTube–when in fact they’re not. The page will look similar because it’s been built to look like an exact replica, but the URL will usually give it away. Look carefully. It might also be similar to the original, but it can’t be exact.
Fraud isn’t always a complicated scheme from a complex network of criminal masterminds. Sometimes, it can be something as simple as a phony check made out by a teenager. He (or she) knows there is no money in the account, and they’ll use a bogus check to buy a popular video game or some chips and dip. The check will bounce, but they don’t care. The damage is done.
If you’re trying to crawl out from underneath a mountain of debt, you know how stressful the situation can be. There are those who would use that stress to their advantage–because they know how eager you’ll be to take advantage of an offer that might reduce that debt or even eliminate it altogether. Debt elimination fraud will often ask for a chunk of cash upfront in order to barter for a better deal from your bank. The con artists will have your cash, your credit card numbers, and they won’t help you get rid of your debt any faster.