Scammers are constantly finding new ways to steal your money. You can protect yourself by knowing what to look out for.
Debt collection scams
Most debt collectors will contact you to collect on legitimate debts you owe. But there are scammers who pose as debt collectors to get you to pay for debts you don't owe or that have already been paid. Do not give any personal financial information until you can verify the debt.
Debt settlement and debt relief scams
Debt settlement companies say they can renegotiate, settle, or in some way change the terms of a person's debt to a creditor or debt collector.
Foreclosure relief scams
Foreclosure relief or mortgage loan modification scams try to take your money or your house by making a false promise of saving you from foreclosure.
If you get a call from someone who sounds like a grandchild or relative asking you to wire or transfer money or send gift cards to help them out of trouble, it could be a scam.
Imposter scammers try to convince you to send money by pretending to be someone you know or trust like a sheriff, local, state, or federal government employee, or charity organization. Remember, caller ID can be faked. You can always call the organization or government agency and ask if the person works for them before giving any money.
Mail fraud letters look real but the promises are fake. A common warning sign is a letter asking you to send money or personal information now to receive something of value later.
Mortgage closing scams
Mortgage closing scams target homebuyers who are nearing the closing date on their mortgage loan. The scammer attempts to steal the homebuyer's closing funds—for example, their down payment and closing costs—by sending the homebuyer an email posing as the homebuyer's real estate agent or settlement agent.
Lottery or prize scams
Scammers will call or email congratulating you on being a winner with an ask for an upfront payment for fees and taxes. Similarly, a scammer might ask you to pay money in advance to get sweepstakes prize winnings.
Wire or money transfer fraud
Scammers use money wire transfers to steal your money. One way they do this is by befriending you online and then asking for help with medical bills by sending a wire.
Once a money transfer is picked up, there is very little you can do to get your money back. If someone you don't know or have never met in person, asks you to wire money, this is a red flag.