Con Artists Adopt Trendy Twists on Old Scams
You may be great at deleting e-mails from Nigerian princes to avoid online phishing, but fraudsters are coming up with new schemes to get your private information. While many of the new scams involve hot topics in the news, they still may be based on old techniques like phone calls.
One such scam involves someone contacting you about investing in high-yielding certificates of deposit. If you get a call like this, don't provide any information or send money. It could be a scammer, posing as a broker. They could even claim to represent a legitimate firm, even one you already do business with. Caller IDs can even be rigged to fake a firm's number. Always check the number independently with the firm's website or your own records and call directly to verify a caller's identity.
Another area ripe for fraud is linked to the recent legalization of medical or recreational marijuana in some states. As with any enterprise making headlines, so-called "pump-and-dump" artists have begun touting small, thinly traded companies linked to that industry. In many cases, they hope to inflate demand and drive up the stock price quickly--the "pump"--and then dump their vastly inflated shares at a profit, leaving their victims holding the bag.
Finally, if you receive a phone call threatening jail time or the loss of your driver's license unless you pay what you owe the IRS, don't panic, even if they cite part of your Social Security number. They could even have a scammer call claiming to be from an official agency to “verify” the claim of the other caller. Before you do anything, contact the IRS directly and don’t use a number they gave you, rather look up the number on your own.
Prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2014.