Tips to Help You Avoid Financial Scams in 2017

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Tips to Help You Avoid Financial Scams in 2017

Financial scammers are out there, and they are constantly looking for new victims.  Southeastern Bank helps its customers with knowledge and tools to recognize and avoid these scams that can cause financial nightmares. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has identified the following five scams as most common:

  1. IRS Scams – Phony IRS calls have declined slightly since September, but the BBB anticipates that these calls will increase during tax season. Frequently, con artists pose as IRS employees and threaten victims with prosecution if they fail to wire money.
  2. Debt Collection Scams – Debt collection scams remained a mainstay among scammers in 2016, and experts believe they will continue in 2017. Like IRS scammers, fake debt collectors call consumers and demand payment, often in a threatening manner.
  3. Lottery, Sweepstakes and Gift Scams – Despite increased awareness, thousands of victims continue to fall for lottery and sweepstake scams each year. Often, scammers will tell victims they’ve won money and ask them to wire the taxes in return.
  4. Employment Scams – Despite improving employment rates in 2016, employment scams still made the top five list because many consumers remain underemployed and are seeking part-time jobs. Scammers prey on that economic hardship, offering victims work as secret shoppers or promoters who agree to wrap their vehicles with advertising logos for a third party.  In the case of the vehicle wrap technique, the con artists often send fake checks for amounts up to $1,000 and demand $300 back to pay for the wrapping.  Soon after, the fake check will bounce and the victim will have lost $300 to the scammer.
  5. Online Purchase Scams – Rounding out the top five list, scammers frequently sell fake merchandise online and pocket the money. If you are buying something online, make sure to use reputable websites and always look for the “https” at the start of the web address in your browser.

Adam Price, Regional Director of the BBB says these scams continue because they work.  The BBB estimates nearly one in five people lose money to a scam each year, bringing annual losses to approximately $50 billion.

Major news events like severe weather – which we have experienced of here in South Georgia and North Florida – and the recent presidential inauguration are prime scam opportunities for con artists.

“Any current event, whether it’s a natural disaster or a current political event, is an opportunity for scam artists to strike while the iron is hot.  So if there’s something in the news, you can bet that there’s somebody behind a computer screen trying to take advantage of you,” Price said.

Surprisingly, the BBB did a study in 2016 which found millennials to be more likely than senior citizens to be conned because of their dependence on technology and the frequency of online scams.

Southeastern Bank urges you to familiarize yourself with these common scams. If something sounds fishy, give us a call.  We are happy to help confirm whether something is a real opportunity or a scam.

About Us: Southeastern Bank, established in 1888, has a long history of serving its customers and communities. From checking accounts and loans to investments and more, Southeastern Bank has the financial products you need most. Southeastern Bank has 10 locations throughout coastal Georgia and northeast Florida that include Brunswick, Callahan, Darien, Eulonia, Folkston, Hilliard, Kingsland, Nahunta, Richmond Hill and St. Simons Island.