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  • May 23, 2024

Tech Talk with Jeff - It’s a Scammy World Out There

With all the scammers out there, we learn a lot about the attempts to scam our members.

There are some patterns that we see in how they try to carry out their scams. With Spring upon us, many of the attempted scams involve home repairs. There are different ways a scammer tries to use this topic, but the result is that they want payment through either digital currency (bitcoin) or gift cards. Digital currency? Yes. There are crypto/digital currency ATMs and scammers take advantage of this. The point being, once converted to digital currency or a gift card, they get the necessary information from the victim and poof, the money is gone and unretrievable.

So, the first rule of not getting scammed is, if someone wants payment through a gift card or digital currency, it is most likely a scam. Stop. Don’t do it. You will probably not see that money again if you do it. What you should do is go to the police and report the attempted scam. The police cannot help you or work to end these scams if they don’t know about it. If the scam was online or over the phone you also want to report it to the Internet Crime Complaint Center(IC3) and to the Federal Trade Commision. The more information the government has, the better they are able to stop these criminals.

One of the other things to watch out for, the scammers will threaten you in some way. They try to put fear in you so you won’t think clearly and will take the action they want, which is to send them your money. This is a huge red flag and a reason to just disconnect. No need to be polite, they are trying to steal from you.

Another characteristic is that they want you to go to the bank and withdraw a large amount of cash. Most people do not pay in large amounts of cash anymore. If the scammers want you to withdraw a large amount of cash to be converted to gift cards or digital currency, something is very wrong. Along with this, if they are coaching you to lie when asked why you are taking out a large sum of money, that means it is a scam. No one doing a valid transaction would ever need you to tell a falsehood to do what you need to do to pay them.

Scammers are often very convincing; they conduct these illicit activities as their full-time jobs. They use fear and urgency, so their victims won’t think clearly or ask questions. If you are reading this and have realized you may be the victim of a scam, there is no reason to feel shame or embarrassment. Scammers and fraudsters conduct these illicit activities as their full-time jobs, and they are relentless.

Awareness is critical to fraud protection. Never be afraid to step back in these situations and ask yourself, “What is really going on here?” Be aware that you may need to overcome your sense of denial that you are being scammed. The GFA Team are here to help you if you are unsure if you have a problem. We don’t want to see you get scammed. The staff at GFA and/or local police can help you sort out whether someone is trying to scam you and assist you with reporting it to the appropriate authority. Use the resources you have to keep yourself in the know and protect yourself.

Be aware and be safe!

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