How Government Grant Scammers Identify Targets
You might see government grant scams advertised online. You might also get a cold-call with spoofed caller ID so the call looks to be from a federal or state agency. Sometimes they use an official-sounding but nonexistent name, like Federal Grants Administration.
Some scammers rely on spam email and text messages claiming your free money grant is about to expire, and you must contact them for payment.
Never Pay Money In Order To Get Money
Aside from your bank who might ask you to pay an annual fee for your credit card, no other place/person/organization should ever ask you to pay a fee in order to get money.
Have you noticed that while all of the scams we listed above are different, many of them had one thing in common?
They ask you to pay a fee.
Regardless of the back story, many scams are based on a message of you can have all of this cash if you just pay us this small fee.
Its an admin fee, or a processing fee or a tax fee etc.
So if you ever get an email, a letter, a text, a phone call or any other correspondence that offers you money if you pay a fee, then avoid it.
If Youve Given The Scammer Access To Your Computer
Sometimes scammers ask to access your computer so they can control it remotely. For example, they might pretend to be from your internet provider and say they need to deal with a technical problem.
The scammer might have infected your computer with a virus, or stolen passwords and financial information. To stay safe you should:
- reset your passwords
- let your bank know your financial information might have been stolen
- make sure you update your anti-virus software
You could also get an IT professional to check your computer.
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Ways That Ticket Scammers Go After Your Money
Scammers, including individuals and fake resale companies, take advantage of ticket shortages by:
- Charging prices much higher than the face value of a ticket
- Creating counterfeit tickets with forged barcodes and logos of real ticket companies
- Selling duplicates of a legitimate ticket and emailing it to several buyers
- Pretending to sell tickets online to steal your credit card information
Suspends Scammers With Cease And Desist Orders
The SEC gives a cease and desist order to temporarily or permanently prohibit a company from operating under the suspicion of engaging in illegal or fraudulent activities. Its a function of the SEC to ensure that all registered companies comply with the rules and regulations of the governing body. CDOs protect the investing public from fraud by halting the activities of deceptive companies. If you go to the SEC website, youll find a section with a complete list of companies that have CDOs issued against them by year.
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Compensation When Youve Been Scammed
Have you been ripped off? Maybe when you were urged to send money to collect your prize from a phony sweepstakes, or if you paid for an item you never got from an online store that seemed a little sketchy.
The Federal Trade Commission can help you get some money from the scammers.
First, you need to file a complaint with the agency, explaining what happened and how much you lost. If the FTC gets enough complaints, it takes legal action against the company, recovers money and sends checks to customers. Officials say they try to return as much money as possible to each victim.
Recent FTC checks have gone to people who fell for fraudulent business opportunities, and for shoppers who paid for LED lightbulbs that didnt work well.
Spot And Avoid Government Impersonator Scams
A government impersonator scam often starts with a call, email, or text message from someone who says theyre with a government agency. They might give you their employee ID number to sound official. And they might have information about you, like your name or home address.
They often say they work for the Social Security Administration, the IRS, or Medicare but sometimes they give you fake agency names, like the non-existent National Sweepstakes Bureau. Theyll also give you some reason why you need to send money or give them your personal information immediately. If you get a call like this, hang up the phone. Its a scammer.
Because government agencies wont call, email, or text you and ask for money or personal information. Only a scammer will do that.
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What Is A Government Grant Scam
Lisa Schiller is the Director of Investigations and Media Relations for the Better Business Bureau Serving Wisconsin. According to Schiller, here are the four traits that the majority of government grant scams have in common:
Of course, within this basic framework, there are many different ways that the scammer can try to work you over. Here are three such examples.
How Do The Government Grant Scams Work
The scams work in two ways. The first is using telemarketing. You will receive a call out of the blue from an official sounding government organisation either advising you that you have successfully been awarded a government grant, or offering to help you get a government grant of between $5,000 – $10,000.You will either be asked for your banking information so the loan can be deposited directly into your account, or you will be asked for personal information. This information is needed so the scammers can use it fraudulently.The second way government grant scams work is when scammers advertise ‘free grants’ inviting you to call a toll free number for more information. If you call, they ask you some basic questions to see if you qualify, and then congratulate on your eligibility and then ask for your checking account details to directly deposit the grant into your account, or ask you for a one-time processing fee.Some scammers put ads in newspapers or magazines advertising government loans for small businesses. If you apply, you will be quickly approved, and then asked to wire money to cover the insurance on the loan. This is just a variation of anadvance fee scam.
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Where Can I Report Investment Scams In The Philippines
There are so many investment scams that may look and sound legit at first. But when you delve deeper, youll realize that its a robbery waiting to happen.
If you wish to report a company thats involved in a scam, you may report it to the Enforcement and Investor Protection Department of the SEC at the following numbers:
How Tech Scams Work
Tech scams are generally conducted in one of two ways:
On the phone
Lets start with how the tech scam works when its conducted over the phone:
You get a random phone call from a person that claims to be a tech support agent from a tech company like Microsoft or Windows.
The person says that viruses have been detected on your computer. Then the person usually tries to get hold of your personal information and data or extort money from you.
They do this in a couple of different ways.
One way involves the scammer saying that since viruses have been found on your computer, in order to protect your data, you have to visit a certain website and follow its instructions immediately.
When you visit that site, you might even see a fake message on the screen that shows viruses are being detected and removed.
But, this isnt the case.
In reality, malware is being installed on your PC.
Once installed, this malware allows scammers to steal sensitive data, like your usernames and passwords.
The scammer may even hold your data for ransom or use your webcam to spy on you.
Or the scammer might say that you need to give them remote access to your computer in order to fix the problems theyve found with your computer.
Then, they ask you to pay to fix a problem that didnt exist in the first place.
Like we said above, tech scams can be conducted over the phone, but they are also rife online.
Online, these tech support scammers may try to get your attention with a pop-up window.
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Lottery And Sweepstakes Scams
Prize scammers try to get your money or personal information through fake lotteries, sweepstakes, or other contests. Many claim that youve won a prize but must pay a fee to collect it. Others require you to provide personal information to enter a contest. These scams may reach you by postal mail, email, phone call, robocall, or text message.
Collecting On A Fake Debt
Another government imposter scam involves a communication threatening to collect a debt. You may get a call or an official-looking letter claiming to be from a debt collector acting on behalf of a law firm or government agency. The scammer will threaten to arrest you or take you to court on the debt and may even have your address and Social Security number.
Always ask for written verification of the debt. Never pay a debt by wiring money or using a pre-paid debit card. Even if you owe a debt, you still have rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. For more information on debt collection, debt collection scams, and your rights, read the Attorney Generals Consumer Alert on Debt Collection & Debt Collection Scams.
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Protect Your Financial Accounts
You should never give your banking or credit card information to unknown parties over the phone or otherwise. Nor should you submit such information as part of a grant application, unless you know you are submitting it to a legitimate organization that can demonstrate a need for such information. Once scammers have obtained your credit card number, check routing information, Social Security number, or bank account number, they may be able to make repeated withdrawals from your account without your knowledge or consent. They also may sell your information to third parties who will try to market other scams to you. Check out the Attorney Generals Offices publication What to Do When Your Personal Information is Breached for more information.
How The Lottery Scam Works
With this type of scam, you get an email , that says youve won a huge amount of money.
Except that you havent even entered a lottery or any type of sweepstakes.
So, its a totally bogus offer.
The biggest red flag, aside from this unexpected email for a draw you dont remember entering, is the fact that the email asks you to pay a fee so that your winnings can be processed.
Sometimes, the email doesnt ask you to pay a fee, but instead, says that it requires more information from you basically, the scammer is trying to get personal information from you!
How to protect yourself from Lottery Scams
Unless you have bought an official lottery ticket, or have entered a legitimate contest, then you wont have won money.
Plus, if you have won the lottery, its your responsibility to contact the retailer.
State lotteries will publish the results online or will broadcast them on television not by emailing you directly.
Its the responsibility of the ticket holder to make a claim for the winnings.
Hence why you hear those stories of those unclaimed winnings!
Where to report Lottery Scams
If you have been the victim of a lottery or other prize scam, then contact the Federal Trade Commission.
You can report a lottery scam to the FTC online here.
Or you can give the FTC a call on 1-877-382-4357.
If the scam involves U.S. mail, then you can also contact a postal inspector, which you can do here.
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Government Imposter Scams To Watch Out For
Pretty much every successful scam depends on misplaced trust. To get money out of you, scammers have to get you to trust them, and one of the quickest ways for them to do that is to pose as someone else. These fraudsters can assume many roles: a relative calling in a panic after a car accident, tech support calling to warn you about a computer virus, or even a new love you met through online dating.
Perhaps the sneakiest scammers of all are the ones who impersonate government officials. When you receive a call or message that seems to come from a government agency, your first instinct is likely to cooperate without asking any questions. Unfortunately, when youre dealing with a con artist, thats precisely the wrong thing to do.
To avoid falling for this trick, you need to know how to recognize a government imposter scam when you see it. Heres a rundown of some common ones to watch out for and the warning signs that give them away.
The Primary Warning Signs Of A Government Grant Scam
According to the FTC, these are the hallmarks of this type of scam:
Scammers will contact you out of the blue. Theres no application process, no request on your behalf. The scammers expect us to believe the government employs a call center fully-staffed just to track down Americans who somehow qualify to get free money. In reality, receiving a government grant requires effort on your part. The same way you never get a job offer without actually applying for a job, you never get a grant without at least applying for one.
Scammers will ask for personal or financial information. Actual government agencies dont ever ask you for your Social Security number, bank account information, or a credit card number. Thats all a talented scammer needs to steal your money, your identity, or both.
Scammers will ask for money. Government agencies do not call and ask for a payment in exchange for a grant. And no one with good intentions ever asks for a payment via gift card, cash reload card, bank wire/money transfer, or cryptocurrencies.
Knowing what to look out for is key to defending against most scams. To help you detect and avoid financial scams, Birch Gold Group has pulled together an extensive resource guide that is now available on our website. The Birch Gold Group Scam Protection Resource Guide helps you identify warning signs and provides you with tips on how to avoid fraud.
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How To Report Scams
Our first tip if you suspect that you, or somebody that you know, have been the victim of a financial scam, is to report the crime and seek assistance as soon as possible.
You should not be embarrassed or ashamed to admit that youve been scammed.
These scammers prey on people and exploit their vulnerabilities.
It happens to millions of people, so you arent alone.
There are, fortunately, many organizations out there that can assist victims of financial fraud.
You will be able to report the fraudster.
Above, weve listed lots of places where you can report common scams.
How To Report Scammers
Theres one more thing the FTC urges you to do if you get a call or message from a government imposter: report it. You can use the FTCs Complaint Assistant to file a report about any kind of imposter scam. From the main site, click on Scams and Rip-offs, then Imposter Scams. Be prepared to provide information about:
- How you were contacted
- The date and time you were contacted
- The name of the government agency the imposter used
- What the scammers told you
- How much money they asked for and what payment method they said to use
- Their address, email, or phone number, if you have it
- Any other details about the scam
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How To Avoid Grant Scams
- Remember that government grant and loan services are offered free of charge by government departments or agencies if you are being asked for an upfront fee, be cautious.
- Never give out personal or financial information to people you dont know.
- Beware of strange messages from friends on Facebook. If you receive a suspicious message from a friend that seems out of character, contact them offline to confirm its them. They may have been hacked.
- Independently verify any website that claims to be a government organization. Websites, phone numbers, and logos can be easily spoofed and faked. If youre ever unsure, contact them directly.
- Do your research. Find out what people are saying online about the company.
- Report scams and fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
Are You Going To Sit Back And Wallow In Your Miserable Life Working For Someone Else Or Are You Ready To Be Your Own Boss And Finally Start Calling All The Shots
Make sure youre extremely aggressive about this.
Shit like this really turns the pressure up for vulnerable people to buy. It combines the two powerful psychological tactics of Time Constraints and Questioning Their Intelligence.
Target psychological emotion: Time Constraint. Questioning Intelligence. Fear of missing out.
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Find Unclaimed Pension Funds
Okay, one more not-really-free-but-yours-already resource. If youve left a company due to acquisition, merger, or layoffs, you may have been too preoccupied with your next career move to remember pension funds. Luckily, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation can help you reconnect with this forgotten money.
Visit pbgc.gov to check your name and information against their database. There are currently almost 73,000 names on their unclaimed pensions list. So you may very well find some money you had forgotten all about!