Young lady using laptop in office

List of Scams & Explanations

Spam is the electronic equivalent of junk mail or junk newsgroup postings. The term refers to unsolicited, bulk - and often unwanted - email. Real spam is generally email advertising for some product sent to a mailing list or newsgroup.

This is the most common type of online fraud. Individuals are randomly targeted by people (fraudsters) sending mass emails. These messages usually contain "urgent information" regarding your accounts. Clicking on links within the email contain "spoofed or hacked" websites that many times look legitimate. They will ask you for personal information.

Check Fraud
Involves scams in which individuals are tricked into accepting a fraudulent check but the actual proceeds are obtained by the fraudster and you are left with a monetary loss. These types of checks can be personal checks, business checks, and even bank cashier's checks.

Debit/Credit Card Fraud
A Debit/Credit Card Fraud scam occurs when a fraudster obtains your actual debit/credit card or the information on the card to create another card and uses it against actual funds in your account.

Lottery/Prize Scams
Lottery/Prize scams are usually from an international country. The victim (you) is informed through an unsolicited communication by phone, email, or mail that they have won a large lottery, prize, or sweepstakes and must pay money to cover taxes or fees to claim their winnings. The victim may receive a check for part of the "winnings" to deposit in their personal bank account to pay for the fees. The victim sends the money for taxes or fees using a money transfer service or sending a wire, the check that was deposited bounces, and the victim is responsible for the entire amount causing, in some cases, their account balance to go negative.

Inheritance Scams
Inheritance scams are usually from an international country. Sent by mail or email, the fraudster explains that someone is deceased and you are the only person with inheritance rights. The amounts can vary but are usually fairly large. They then request that you send them your account information so they can wire the money from the inheritance to you. No money is wired and the fraudsters have your personal account information.

Overpayment Scams
Usually originate when an individual tries to sell merchandise online like craigslist or eBay. The fraudster sends a check over the selling price requested, which is usually accompanied with a letter or a prior email, stating that they sent extra funds to cover shipping costs, etc. Then the fraudster instructs the individual to deposit the check and return the excess funds back to them. The individual deposits the check into their personal bank account, returns the excess funds back to the fraudster, and then the check comes back as "fraudulent" or "account closed" and is debited from the individual's bank account, leaving the individual at a loss of the whole amount of the check plus the "extra" funds that were sent back. Also, the individual may have lost the merchandise they were selling if it had been shipped.

Charity Fraud
Every time there is a major natural disaster somewhere in the country, fraudsters send emails or mail letters stating they are from well-known charitable organizations looking to raise money for the victims of the disaster. You think the money is going to help victims, but it is really going to the fraudsters.

Grandparents/Family Scams
Fraudsters play on seniors' emotions by calling them and pretending to be their grandchild in some sort of trouble or distress, like being arrested or detained for some other reason, and need money wired to them to get them out of trouble, usually for several thousand dollars. The fraudsters also tell the senior not to tell anyone, especially not the "grandchild's" parents.

Home Repair Fraud
Fraudsters pose as repair contractors and victimize many homeowners every year. A typical scenario involves an uninvited door-to-door solicitation from a contractor claiming to have a "special price" on roofing, siding, windows, asphalt, or other services. Some even state that they have done work for neighboring houses and have extra materials that they can offer a discounted price. The price is only good "right now" and the contractor requests all or most of the price paid up front. Once you pay for their services, they usually disappear having done little or no work at all, and the work, if done, is of poor quality.

Sweetheart/Romance Scams
The fraudster creates a fake relationship with the victim through a dating website or social media platform. Usually, there is never a face to face meeting. The victim believes the relationship is real. At some point, the communication progresses and the fraudster starts requesting money from the victim for a number of reasons, such as travel, medical, gifts, etc. In the end, the fraudster is only attempting to gain funds and not a relationship. The fraudster may also ask the victim for personal banking information as well as mobile banking logins and passwords.

Work At Home Scams
You receive fraudulent information from television, internet sites, or even may receive an unsolicited email stating you can make thousands of dollars while working from home with little effort. Examples include home assembly and crafting, envelope stuffing, mystery shopping, reshipping, and payment processing. Most scams involve you receiving a check and being asked to deposit it in your personal bank account and then send a portion of the money back to them by wire. The amount stated that you keep is your "earnings" but in reality, the deposited check is no good and you are out the whole amount of the check, which may cause your account to go negative and the fraudsters have received the amount that was wired to them.

Telemarketing Fraud
Fraudulent telemarketers use high-pressure techniques to trick unsuspecting victims into sending money or providing personal financial information. This is usually directed toward older individuals. They may say that you have "won a free gift" or "prize" but must send money or give account information to receive it. They often say "you can trust me."

Tech Support Phone Scams
Fraudsters offer to help solve your computer problems or sell you a software license. Once they have access to your computer, they can trick you into installing malicious software and then charge you a fee to remove it. They can also take control of your computer remotely or request credit card information for phony services or direct you to fraudulent websites and ask you to enter credit card and other personal or financial information.

Travel Scams
You receive a solicitation saying you can enjoy steep discounts on travel to many parts of the world by joining a travel club - for a fixed fee that is often in the thousands of dollars. You find out later that the discounted fares for cruises and other travel were either not as low as represented or not available at all.

Mobile Banking/Mobile Deposit Scams
Fraudster requests your online or mobile banking login and password either through an unsolicited email or social media posing as a potential employer or lender. The fraudster then uses the mobile banking login and password to deposit a fraudulent check and then withdraws the funds themselves (usually in the form of online bill pay) or has you withdraw the funds and wire the money to the fraudster(s) before the bank knows that the check is fraudulent. You are left owing the bank money when the check "bounces" and your bank account has become compromised.