Red Flags for Common Scams
There are several common
characteristics of scams. If you are concerned that you or a
family member are being, or have been "scammed," examine your
situation with the red flags listed below. If you suspect
that you or your family member have in fact been scammed,
contact your local law enforcement right away.
Scams often originate through email.
(Email scams are a "numbers'
game." Millions of emails are sent. The "con or scammer"
hopes to be successful in only one or two out of millions of emails. Be sure the person whom you are
communicating with is from a reputable company. Call your
local law enforcement if you are in doubt.)
Scams can originate from phone calls.
(If someone calls you by
phone requesting a donation for a cause you find worthy of a
donation, first gather information from the caller about
this company, and do your own research prior to donating to
Scams often involve people promising to do
repair work on your home.
(These scams most often
require you to pay first before the work is completed.
Another similar scam may involve people wanting to enter
your home to check on your air-conditioner, cable, phone or
water heater, etc. Before allowing someone you don't
personally know to perform work on your home, contact the
Better Business Bureau. Additionally, NEVER allow any
repairman into your home that you have not called and
requested. Even then, he should have proper
Many scams involve "found" currency.
(This scam is widely known as
the "pigeon drop." Although there are many versions of the
pigeon drop, generally speaking, a "player" in the scam
"finds" money and offers to share it with the would-be
victim. This "found money" is usually "discovered" in a
parking lot and the victim is required to put up "good
faith" money to "hold" their share of the "found money."
The idea is that the "found money" will be split among
party's if the money is never claimed by the owner. The
"owner" never seems to be located and once the victim puts
of "good faith" money, the original "player" is never seen
Scams often involve other countries.
(Whether the scam involves
foreign money (as is often seen in the "Pigeon Drop" scam),
or whether communications like emails or letters originate
from other countries, these are many times scams wanting to
steal your money. A common scam involving foreign
communications is the email scam from a "Nigerian attorney"
trying to finalize someone's estate.)
Scams often require "putting up your own
money in good faith."
(This is also common in the
"pigeon drop" scam. NEVER put up money in "good faith" for
ANY reason until you have spoken with law enforcement or
your own personal attorney. Some scams even result in
a "player" in a scam attempting to force a person to
withdraw money from their bank account. At this point the
scam becomes a robbery or theft. This type of coercion or
intimidation more often occurs with elderly victims.)
Scams can involve "personal loans."
(These types of scams can
become civil matters as opposed to criminal matters. Often
this type of scams result when a con builds a relationship
with the victim and eventually asks for a loan of some
kind. The con "promises" to pay the money back.
Ultimately, the victim never sees the con again and the
money is never repaid. Contact your local law enforcement
if this happens to you. The local district attorney will
make the determination of whether a crime has occurred or if
the case is a civil matter.)
Scams most often target the elderly or others
susceptible to intimidation.
People should regularly
communicate with elderly parents or family members. No one
should ever donate or loan any substantial amounts of money
without first checking with family, law enforcement, money
managers or other confidants.
your local law enforcement if you feel that you or a loved one
has lost money in a scam.