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5 modern scams that are believable, easy to fall for

Everyone knows about viruses and Nigerian princes, but there are scams that are less obvious and are fleecing individuals and businesses across the board – be prepared.

modern scams

modern scams

Scammers are winning, don’t let them get you

Scammers make a lot of money preying off of unsuspecting people who are drawn in by a hook that makes their pitch seem plausible. And the scary thing is – they’re getting smarter and more innovative with the types of scams they come up with, thereby increasing their success rate as more and more people fall into these consumer traps.

In order to safeguard your business, and more importantly, your wallet, we’ve compiled 5 modern scams from Consumer Reports and provided details below.

1. The solar scam

Solar energy systems claiming thousands in savings – A lot of people are stressing over high utility bills and many companies have sprouted up selling consumers on how much they can save by switching to solar power. This is a great option, but the thing to watch out for is vendors requiring a large deposit or full payment.

These fly-by-night companies often leave after payment or deliver nowhere near the amount of savings they promised, much like the roofing scammers that roll into town after a tornado or hurricane. Check the Better Business Bureau for ratings and references, only work with licensed contractors and never pay a deposit of more than 10 percent of the project price.

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2. The virus detection scam

Virus detection and removal from a remote company – Some companies contact you claiming they’ve remotely found a virus in your system. This should automatically raise a red flag because no external party should be monitoring your network. Don’t install products from these companies as they are gateways for scammers to come in, plant their software and capture entered passwords and deploy their own ads and scams.

3. The Facebook scam

See who’s looking at your Facebook profile – As a business owner, you’re curious to know who’s interested in your corporate brand, so knowing who’s actively seeking out your profile would be a huge benefit. However, these emails often lead those who’ve clicked to “bait pages” where they are asked to like the tracking app and then fill out a survey, the information from which goes directly into an advertiser’s database. This scam is particularly popular because once you like the app, it takes over your contacts and sends out messages to your friends telling them how effective the app was for you, so be wary.

4. The interest rate scam

Cut your credit-card interest rate to 4.0% – Finances can get out of control sometimes and a lower interest rate would quell some of those anxieties. Don’t respond to companies contacting you offering to slash your interest rates by working with your credit company; they often require an upfront deposit of a few hundred dollars, but you can actually call up your creditors yourself and ask for a reduction free of charge.

Cut out the middleman and handle the matter yourself. Never share account numbers or other personal information from an unsolicited company.

5. The scam victim scam

Been burned before? Let us help you recover the money you lost – If you have been the victim of a scam, you’re vulnerable and obviously want to prevent these occurrences from happening again. Scammers prey upon this and market themselves as saviours against these criminals, peddling their services for a small fee. If you get a call like this, hang up. These people pay to get lists of consumers who’ve fallen victim to scams because they have a vested interest in future protection.

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These scams work because they’re believable

After reading about some of the scams, it’s understandable how they can appear to be believable. Scammers dig around and find consumer pain points that are able to be exploited in the name of “let me help you.” In order to protect your business, do your research and be wary of deals that sound too good to be true, services that are offered to you because of unsolicited proactivity from a third party, or sketchy companies who claim they can save you from the bad guys, when they’re the bad guys themselves.

It’s best to work with reputable companies that have an established track record; when in doubt, do a search on the BBB website and make sure everything checks out.

Destiny Bennett is a journalist who has earned double communications' degrees in Journalism and Public Relations, as well as a certification in Business from The University of Texas at Austin. She has written stories for AustinWoman Magazine as well as various University of Texas publications and enjoys the art of telling a story. Her interests include finance, technology, social media...and watching HGTV religiously.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. website101

    September 21, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Facebook scam is not easy to avoid. Just one click and you are out!

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