Common Scams and How to Avoid Them

Common Scams and How to Avoid Them

Be aware of these common scams so you can avoid them.


Internet Business Scams:

  • You are told you will earn a lot of money quickly, but you aren’t told how to do it (for example, what you would sell, how to get customers, what your expenses would be).
  • Don’t feel pressured to give out your personal information.
  • Do your research. Talk to someone in the business and ask the company for information in writing.

Health Care Scams

  • Someone offers you a health care plan and promises, for example, 80% off on surgeries, but they don’t give you information in writing.
  • A product is advertised to cure cancer without a doctor’s approval.
  • Ask a doctor before buying a "cancer cure," because the advertised cure could harm you.

Employment Scams

  • You are promised a job if you pay someone money.
  • You are asked to pay money to see a list of jobs in your area.
  • You are asked to pay a fee for a government job.
  • These scams promise jobs or lists of jobs, but turn out to be untrue or inaccurate.

**You should never have to pay a fee to apply for a government job!**

Money Transfer Scams

  • You are asked to wire money to someone you do not know.
  • The "Grandparent Scam": You get a call from someone who says they are your grandchild (or a friend of your grandchild) and asks you to wire money because they are stranded in a foreign country.
  • The "Prize Scam": Someone calls you to say you have won a prize and you must wire money to receive it.
  • The "Fake Check Scam": you get a check in the mail by someone who asks you to deposit it and to wire them some money back. If the check is fake and you wire the money before the bank realizes it is fake, you will have paid your own money and you won’t get it back.
  • The "Mystery Shopper Scam": Someone gives you a check and tells you to deposit it and use some of the money to go shopping, then wire the rest of the money back to them. In this scam, the check is fake and you are left to pay for both the shopping and the wired money.

* Be aware: once you wire money, you cannot get it back.
* Don’t wire money to someone you don’t know.

Mortgage and Foreclosure Rescue Scams

  • They make guarantees, ask for money up front, or tell you to send your mortgage payment to them.

Common Red Flags—It Might Be a Scam:

  • If you are asked for money up front.
  • If they pressure you into making a fast decision, without giving you time to do research.
  • If you are asked to wire money to someone you don’t know.
  • If you have been scammed, go to to file a complaint.


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