The FBI has a message: new scams will keep coming but red flags to spot them stay the same. FBI Jacksonville wants you to know that the best way to fight back and win against scammers is to know the moves and mistakes they will make so you don’t fall for their tricks.
Agents say scammers don’t stop. They take advantage of each and every situation to try and cash in. For example, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, scammers tried to trick you into paying for stimulus checks, fake treatments -- even vaccines that are actually absolutely free.
The FBI Jacksonville office saw an increase in reported job scams in 2020. Jacksonville agents received 366 complaints of people falling victim to employment scams resulting in a loss of $431,899.
The FBI says when a warning is issued about a particular scheme, scammers adapt and make enough changes to convince victims their claims are real.
Bottom line: No matter what type of story you hear via email, text, phone, social media, by mail, or in person, scams change, but the below red flags don’t. Here are the FBI’s top ten red flag fraud signs:
- Requests payment via gift cards, wire transfers, or virtual currency
- Creates a sense of urgency or deadline to pay quickly
- Demands secrecy from you
- Poor grammar or misspellings
- Payments offered in amounts higher than listed price
- Email addresses disguised to seem legitimate
- Unsolicited emails, texts, etc., requesting you confirm usernames and/or passwords
- Requests to move to a new platform to communicate
- Requests to access your personal bank account to pay you for a service
- Unsolicited emails with links or attachments
No matter what type of story someone is telling you, as always, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you have been victimized by a cyber fraud, you can report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.IC3.gov.