When it comes to crimes that cost you money, there is nothing like being well informed to protect yourself and your cash. If you’re a longtime Komando.com reader, you’ve been way ahead of the pack when it comes to scams.
These days, Facebook scams, robocalls and other scams are top stories on the nightly news. They’re so commonplace that it may seem like scams are not a big deal.
Far from it. We’ve been telling you about them for years. What we’ve noticed is that scammers are getting so sophisticated that even the most-seasoned cybersecurity experts are falling for them, and losing their money.
We don’t want you to be the next victim. So, be sure to read Happening Now every day, sign up for Kim Komando’s Security Alert and carefully review these five super scams.
They’re spreading like wildfire. They are costing victims millions of dollars by cleverly taking advantage of you when you’re most vulnerable.
Note: Keep reading for tips to avoid these scams!
1. Job scam
When you’re out of work, it’s easy to get lured into a promising job. Scammers, as you know, take advantage of you when you are feeling most vulnerable.
Think back to a time when your spouse, your grown kids or you needed a job. If your bills were piling up and the fridge was bare, you’d apply for just about any job.
Don’t forget this: Scammers are criminals. They don’t care about you or what happens to your money. They want it and will do whatever it takes to get it.
There are many job scams out there. But these two are hot this summer:
In this scam, you apply for a job and get a response. Your potential employer mails you a check. It’ll be made out to you for $500 or so. Of course, that should be a red flag. Why would they pay you before you start working?
Reputable companies won’t do that. But scammers will call you or email you to say the mailed check was their mistake. They ask you to wire the funds back to them. If you fall for it, their bad check won’t cover the funds, so the money will come out of your bank account.
If a potential employer asks you to pay fees for training, it’s a scam! No reputable company will ask you to pay to get trained before you start working for them.
2. Vacation scam
This time of year, when it’s steamy outside and the kids are out of school, you’re on the lookout for affordable getaways. Scammers know that, so they take advantage of you.
Here’s what you need to know: Scammers will initiate contact with you. They may call you, send you an email or post a vacation package on Facebook.
Do not fall for these scams. Be sure to always plan your vacation on your own. Don’t wait for someone to call you about low-cost trips. They’ll ask for money upfront, but you’ll never get anything for it.
Tip: If you’re booking a vacation online, be sure to use reputable websites. Check the company on the Better Business Bureau’s website, BBB.org. It’s easy. Just type in the company name to see if people like you have filed complaints.
3. Concert scam
Similar to vacation scams, concert scams start with someone contacting you. They might call you to say they’re selling tickets for a band you’ve been following for years.
They’ll excitedly tell you about the concert and the great value you’re getting. That’s when they ask you to wire the payment to them or ask for your credit card number. They’ll even send you tickets! Unfortunately, you’ll find out the day of the concert that they’re not real.
Here’s what you need to do: If you hear about a concert, check the performer’s website. If they are on tour, there will be a list of concert dates and links to buy tickets from the ticket outlet they’re working with.
4. Moving scam
This is one of the busiest times of year to move. If you have children, you know summer is the season when you relocate to your town’s best school district.
Scammers know this, too. They’ll call you and give you an estimate right over the phone! But when the move is finished, they will demand a lot more money than they quoted you.
Do not fall for this scam. Most moving companies will offer to come to your home to see how much furniture they’ll need to move.
Here’s how to stay safe: Check BBB.org to see if the moving company is a reputable business. Then, have the movers come to your house before the move. Ask them for a final estimate before you pay.
5. Door-to-door scam
There used to be a time when a knock on your door was a welcome sound. It may be a neighbor stopping by for a cup of tea, and a little gossip.
It may be your kids’ friends coming over for a sleepover. Or it may be your out-of-town cousin who’s visiting for the holidays.
Of course, these days a knock is not a pleasant sound. A lot of times, it’s a scammer.
It could be a creepy person claiming to be installing cable TV boxes for a fraction of their regular cost. It could be a salesman offering “free solar panels.” It may be someone selling home security systems.
Easy tips to avoid being scammed: First, don’t open the door if you don’t know who’s out there. Second, if you do open the door and you’re tempted to have them install equipment, find the company’s website and call their customer service department. Make sure the person at your door works for them.