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  • Dean Smith

FRAUD FORECAST 2013: The Trends That Can Affect Anyone

According to the Loss Prevention Team from, the following trends will be on the up-and-up during the next year:

1. “The Romance Scam”

Internet dating is the new and easiest way to meet people without ever leaving your comfort zone, and predators take advantage of the weak and lonely. You believe you’re involved in an intimate relationship with someone (minus the physical aspect, of course), and they ask for you to wire money into their account or send cash so they can come see you. When caught at a vulnerable point in life, people can fall for this scam more often than not.

2. “The Disaster Scam”

This is especially true in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. You want to help, and you may latch on to any “organization” that is raising money for disaster victims. To steer clear of this scam, start by conducting research on the organization. If you still aren’t feeling comfortable, choose a well-known, publicized, and trusted organization, like the Red Cross, for example.

3. “The Relative in Need Scam”

The elderly are more likely to fall for this type of fraud. You may get a call from a “grandchild” or their friend or a relative, and they claim to be in trouble. The person on the other end may pretend to be a cop or a lawyer, and a family member is in jail and in need of bail money, or at the hospital and needs medical attention, or needs money to fix a broken down car. Check with other family members before acting.

4. “The Check or Money Order Scam”

Someone may send you a check or money order for an item you have listed for sale on Craigslist, but they have overpaid you. The person that sent the check tells you to deposit it and send back the difference. After all is said and done, the check or money order was counterfeit and you’ll never get the difference back.

5. “The Internet Purchases/Newspaper Ad Scams”

You may be searching online or in a newspaper classified section for anything ranging from vacations to household items, and when you find the deal that seems too good to be true, it usually is. If any website or classified ad asks you to use a wire transfer as a form of payment, THAT IS A BIG RED FLAG. Keep your money and search elsewhere. If you choose to take the risk, you may even get a receipt of payment, but you will not receive your purchase or your money back.

6. “The Lottery or Sweepstakes Scam”

You have received a piece of mail or an e-mail claiming you’ve won a sweepstakes or a lottery, and inside is a check. But in order to receive your lump sum, you must deposit the check and transfer money back for taxes and such. REMEMBER: No lottery will ever ask you to send money before you ever receive it, and most importantly, if you didn’t enter a sweepstakes, you definitely didn’t win one.

7. “The Mystery Shopper Scam”

This scam is very similar to the “Check or Money Order Scam”. If you are an avid mystery shopper, you’ve received a check to make purchases at a retail store, but it has come to your attention that the amount enclosed has exceeded the normal amount. If they ask you to wire the difference back, the original check is most likely counterfeit.

8. “The Vehicle Purchase Scam”

Shopping for a vehicle online is convenient, but dangerous. You find a great deal, and the seller asks for a wire transfer to avoid paying taxes. Great! Saves you money! You’ll soon know that you just paid for a car that doesn’t exist.

9. “The Fake Loan Scam”

In hard economic times, feeding off of the vulnerable is sadly common. In this scam, you may receive a letter or e-mail offering you a loan. It may look legitimate, but when they ask you to send them money to cover taxes and fees before you receive your loan, decline.

10. “Nigerian Scams”

Essentially asks for an upfront fee. One of the most common types of confidence frauds (victim is deceived for financial gain).

Do your research. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it usually is. And never send an unknown vendor/seller funds through a wire transfer or with cash. Checks and credit card payments can be tracked, recorded, and funds can be recovered if fraud is detected.

If you suspect fraud, you may contact ICU to report the incident and start an investigation. We are dedicated to helping you stay protected.

Posted in News | Tagged fraud, ICU, investigations, scam

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