DENVER – A handful of new scams are trying to take advantage of people and their hard-earned money, but there are ways to protect one’s self.
Scams come in many forms, and the people behind them are getting better at covering their tracks and finding new ways to fool the people they’re trying to take advantage of.
Most recently, the FBI’s Denver office warned that scammers had figured out a way to use a legitimate FBI number to call people to try and rip them off by saying they were under investigation by federal authorities.
Another recent scam appears to be sending checks to people that appear to be from Walmart in an attempt to get people to cash them in order to wipe out their bank accounts with the account information.
And the Colorado attorney general has prosecuted a handful of construction scam cases in recent months in which contractors promised to do work on a house or business, but took the money and ran instead.
Authorities say most scams have a common thread: Scammers will try and demand money in most occasions, and often have figured out some sort of threat to pressure people to pay them. They often require people to go buy pre-paid debit cards to load up with cash and send their way.
So if any of those things come up, it’s likely you’re being scammed, and you should hang up your phone or stop communicating with the other person.
Most companies and all government agencies say they will never solicit money on a prepaid debit card or money order, and few companies in general ever demand money over the phone.
If the person on the other side of the phone line or internet communication sets a deadline for payment and threatens some sort of punishment, it’s also likely a scam. Also, if the scammer asks you to call them back with card or payment information, it’s very likely you’re being scammed.
If you have outstanding payments to various companies or agencies and you receive a call you think may be a scam, check with the agency or company you owe money to. While creditors will sometimes call, companies themselves rarely solicit or demand money.
Another tip to avoid being scammed: Don’t give out your personal information, debit and credit card numbers, or Social Security number to anything or anyone unless you know it’s a secure website or known caller.
The BBB says it received 32,781 scam reports across the country in 2016, of which nearly 19 percent involved a person losing money.