Can you spot a scam? Five red flags to watch out for.
When it comes to helping you and your family avoid scams, it starts with awareness. Here are a few consistent red flags you can watch for so you can stop a scammer in their tracks.
1. Unexpected contact
A person or company contacts you out of the blue by phone, text, or email about an invoice, order, delivery, or charge you didn’t know about.
2. Everything is urgent
Scammers will create a false sense of urgency and use pressure tactics like rude or pushy language to get you to act immediately.
3. Very specific or unusual way to pay
Someone is asking you to pay or send money using gift cards, cryptocurrency, a payment app, or even an online wire — to pay for something, resolve an “issue,” get sweepstakes “winnings,” or secure a high return on your “investment.”
4. Threatening language
Scammers may tell you that you owe money and then threaten to call the police if you don’t pay immediately. They may also coach you on what to tell the bank to withdraw or transfer money, or ask you to keep a secret.
5. The romantic “emergency”
A new online love interest bombards you with “sweet talk” but doesn’t seem to want to meet in person. Suddenly a hardship or emergency strikes and they want you to send them money.