Top Scams to Be Aware of and Tips to Avoid Them

Identity theft is still one of the most popular crimes that occur. While the population is becoming more aware of these types of crimes, you can never be too vigilant at protecting your personal information, finances and affairs. Here we have outlined some of the top scams to watch out for according to the Kentucky Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection and tips on how to protect your self. 

IRS Scams
Tax season is a popular time of year for scammers to seek victims. Tax or wage related theft is the most commonly reported type of id theft, accounting for 46% of reported incidents nationwide. It is important to be aware of false phone calls, emails and to keep your personal information safe. Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear is dedicated to educating Kentuckians about potential scams and how to avoid them. "If Kentuckians receive these calls, hang up. If you receive these phishing emails, do not reply," Beshear said. Remember that the IRS will never ask for your personal information over the phone or thru email. 

Credit Card Skimmers
A very common tactic used by scammers has the ability to steal your bank account information without you even knowing. A credit card skimmer is a small device placed on ATM machines and credit card readers that is used to steal your card data in one swipe. They use this information to set up false cards and access your accounts. Often times consumers may not even notice the device as they look very similar to most ATM and card readers. Most retail stores have now switched to chip card readers that have replaced the old way of swiping your magnetic strip in a device. The chip card reader protects your card because it is an internal machine that is much more difficult to tamper with. However, there are still skimmers out there and you should always inspect the machine before swiping your card. Report any abnormalities to the store staff.

Targeting Grandparents
One of the most common scams is targeting the elderly population. Kentucky seniors have received phone calls from scammers claiming to be their grandchildren. These scammers claim that they need money immediately due to unexpected travel or needing money for school. They then explain that they do not want any of the other family members to know out of embarrassment and ask that they keep it a secret. It is truly sad that these criminals are taking advantage of the love and kindness a family member has. 

Impersonating Law Enforcement
Recently our local law enforcement had scammers using their name to seek out victims. The scam artists thru phone calls claimed to be sheriff's deputies who can help residents resolve a federal warrant that has been issued against them - but for a price. If you receive a phone call similar to this, hang up. Law enforcement will never demand money from you.

Student Loan Relief

A fairly new scam is targeting college students that promises student loan debt relief in exchange for a fee and personal information. Students should avoid these companies and understand the loan services are free. When consolidating loans, be sure to research credible sources and never give personal information over the phone or thru email. 

Tips to Avoid Scammers:

Provided by the KY Attorney General's Office of Consumer Protection

Hang up. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine. 


Do not pay upfront. Scammers often offer prizes or threaten to take action against you, if you don't pay a fee or provide your personal information. Legitimate businesses and government agencies will not threaten you for upfront payments.



Do not wire money or send reloadable credit/ gift cards to people you do not know. Legitimate businesses and government agencies will not require you to use these payment methods. It is almost impossible to get your money back after it has been wired, through services like Western Union. Reloadable cards like MoneyPak, Reloadit or other types of gift cards like i-tunes present the same problem.

Slow down. Con artists prey on fear and want to scare you in to taking action very quickly. Before you issue payment or provide your personal information, verify the business by researching it online - verify their website, contact information, search for customer reviews and company policies.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If someone is offering you something for free or a prize you never registered to win, it is more than likely a scam.




Posted February 20, 2017 at 08:55 AM