4. Gold Coin Scam
You hear an ad on the radio that describes how the world economy is shaky and the only thing you can really rely on during periods of economic uncertainty is precious metals. You call a toll-free number and are pitched on buying gold and silver coins that will undoubtedly go up significantly in value. What you are not told is that the coins are being sold at a 300-500% mark up and you will lose money the minute you buy them.
5. Free Lunch
The scammer invites a hundred people to a seminar, where he or she presents an unbeatable investment opportunity. You must sign up right then and there. You can’t sign up later because he or she is leaving town in two hours, and if you don’t take advantage before they leave, you will lose all chances of cashing in on the opportunity. It’s all about getting you to commit quickly without taking the time to think about whether it sounds like a scam.
6. Oil and Gas Scams
Someone calls and tells you they are drilling for oil off the Gulf Coast or in Mississippi, and they have this great new technology that allows them to find oil where no one else has ever been able to drill. But they don’t tell you if they are a registered broker or if the investment is registered with the state or the SEC. And they don’t tell you that even legitimate energy investments almost always bear a high degree of risk, which could result in you striking out while trying to strike it rich.
Other Common Scams
7. Fake Checks
You get a call saying you won a major prize, and you won’t even be responsible for the processing fee, They will offer to pay you more than the cost of the processing fee with a cashier’s check, then ask you to pay a portion of it back as a handling fee. The cashier’s check appears to clear the bank, but is eventually determined to be no good, leaving you without your merchandise and having paid a fee.
8. Tech Support Scams
You get a call or a popup warning that your computer has a virus. You are then told to hand over remote access to your computer to fix it. Afraid of the consequences of inaction, you allow the con to take remote control of your computer and they actually install a virus and charge you to remove it, or they will convince you to purchase a worthless computer maintenance program.
9. Disaster-Related Charity Fraud
Every time there is a major natural disaster somewhere in the country, scammers come out of the woodwork sending emails, making phone calls, and setting up fake charity websites to raise money for the victims of the disaster. You think the money is going to help victims, but it is really going to line the pockets of a criminal.
10. Sweetheart Scams
You go onto a dating website in hopes of meeting that special someone. You meet a person who quickly expresses an interest in you. But they can never meet (claiming to be always traveling), and always find excuses not to call, limiting their contact to things like instant messaging or email. Unfortunately, it is really a con artist who builds an emotional bond with you and then starts asking you for money.
11. Timeshare Scams
You are trying to sell your timeshare property. You are called by someone claiming to represent a company that helps owners sell their properties. They may even say you have a specific buyer already lined up. They tell you that all you need to do is pay an upfront fee to cover various costs. They even provide you with official-looking paperwork. Then, after you pay that upfront fee, they disappear.
12. The Grandparent Scam
A young person calls you pretending to be your grandson or granddaughter. They tell you they have been arrested for drunken driving or they are being detained for some other reason and they need you to wire them $3,000 or $1,700 or some other amount to get them out of trouble. They may have gotten your grandson’s name from social media or they may have just waited for you to say, “Is this Joey?” and then they continue the ruse.
13. The Foreign Lottery Scam
You receive a letter or a phone call saying you may have won a foreign lottery. All you have to do to collect your winnings is to wire money to the caller for taxes or a “processing fee.” The fact is that foreign lotteries are illegal and if you have never entered a lottery, it’s impossible to win.