Scamsters have a few new tricks up their sleeves to steal your money or identity.
If you like to follow the hottest trends, don’t overlook 2022’s most popular scams targeting your personal information, credit card accounts and more for identity theft and other fraudulent purposes. Knowing about these common scams won’t make you the trendiest person among your friends.
But staying informed about 2022’s most notorious scams can save you from the massive headache caused by needing to notify banks and creditors, change online passwords and repair your credit after criminals steal your identity or make fraudulent purchases.
The good news is that when you know what to look out for with the most common scams, you can take measures to avoid becoming a scammer’s next unwitting victim.
Here are three of the hottest frauds targeting Americans in 2022.
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1. Google voice scams
Google voice scammers are tricky, since they present themselves as the ones making sure they don’t get scammed by you. Google voice scams start with a response to your “for sale,” “lost pet” or another post on an online marketplace such as Craigslist, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC.)
The scammer tells you they’ll text a Google Voice verification code to make sure that you’re a real person before they agree to purchase the item or return your pet. But that’s not really what the scammer has in mind. If you send back the code you receive, the scammer can set up a Google Voice number linked to your phone number. That way, they can rip off other people while hiding their identity name with the fake Google voice number.
“No matter what the story is, don’t share your Google Voice verification code — or any verification code — with someone if you didn’t contact them first. That’s a scam, every time,” says the FTC. “If you gave someone a Google Voice verification code, follow these steps from Google to reclaim your number.”
Find out: How to Spot a Tax Debt Relief Scam
2. Amazon impostors
Since July 2020, one in three consumers who reported to the FTC being scammed by business impersonators said that the scammer falsely claimed to be an Amazon employee.
The Amazon impostor may try to confirm a recent purchase you didn’t make or inform you that someone hacked into your account or created a fake Amazon account under your name. Under the guise of “refunding” your money, the scammer “accidentally” overpays the refund amount and asks you to send the funds back to Amazon. Then the money you sent belongs to the scammer, not Amazon.
Amazon impostors may also snare you into buying gift cards and sharing the cards’ PIN numbers to “protect” your supposedly hacked Amazon account. Once scammers get their greedy hands on those gift cards, though, the money belongs to them.
“Gift cards are for gifts,” warns the FTC. “If anyone asks you to pay with a gift card — or buy gift cards for anything other than a gift — it’s a scam.”
3. Fake job fraudsters
When you create a profile on Indeed, CareerBuilder or other online employment sites, you may be so eager to catch potential employers’ attention that you provide plenty of personal information via your resume and profile. But you could also catch the attention of criminals posing as recruiters.
These fake recruiters try to trick you into handing over additional personal information for identity theft and fraud purposes — or sending money to get hired at a nonexistent job.
“Be suspicious if you’re offered a job without an interview,” warns the FTC, which says that scammers may claim to be out of town or too busy to meet with you for an in-person or video interview. The FTC also recommends researching the company or recruiter.
“Search online for their name, email address, phone number, and even the text of the message they sent. You might find that others have had bad experiences and been scammed by the same people, or in a similar way,” says the FTC.
Find out: 7 Signs of a Debt Settlement Scam
Published by Debt.com, LLC