Be it through mail services, phone calls, or email, scams are now an extremely popular form of theft. In 2017 alone, scammers were reported to have successfully stolen more than $90 million from victims in the United States. What’s more concerning? The rate and ingenuity of scams being committed each year are rising rapidly.
Scam and fraud crimes come in many different forms. Fortunately, we have you covered! We’ve composed a list of common scams in the Lexington area, how to identify these scams, and what you can do in response to being targeted!
Common scams in Kentucky
Here are some of the common scams we’ve found.
- Medicare / Medicaid scams: In May, the Kentucky government began mailing out more than 900,000 new medicare cards. There have been a high number of reports of scammers pretending to be Center for Medicare and Medicaid employees calling enrollees and claiming they need to provide personal and financial information or a payment in order to receive, replace or activate their new card.
- Veteran scams: Veterans are an incredibly popular target for scammers. A study by AARP determined nearly 80% of veterans were the target of a scam in the past 5 years. Most scammers will pretend to be agents with the VA, claiming they need the targets social security number, or money in order to continue offering services. There are far more than that though. Follow this link to find a more detailed list of scams targeting veterans
- Fake warrant scam: The scammer here will call your phone, and claim to be a member of the police department or court system. They will claim you have a warrant due to a failed summons or court duty. If you don’t make a payment to them immediately, they will be forced to arrest you.
- Romance / dating scams: Romance scams are becoming VERY popular. These scammers use social media and dating websites to create fake accounts with stolen pictures and false identities. They then engage with other users, lure them into feeling as though a sincere relationship has formed, and then claim they have experienced an emergency of some kind and desperately need financial assistance.
- Gold scams: gold scammers typically attract victims with deceptive sales scripts, stating that the precious metal markets can double and triple in just 30-days and are less risky than traditional IRAs, 401(k)s. The scam typically ends with the victim sending money to a scammer to purchase gold they never receive.
How to identify a scam
What they lack in morality, scammers make up for in ingenuity. To uphold the charade that they are legitimate in a pursuit of conning you out of your money and perhaps even your identity, they’ve developed a number of nasty tricks. When you know what to look for and how to identify their tricks, most scams can be easily avoided.
Most scams almost always push a sense of urgency in an effort to get you to act quickly without thinking. They will typically be hostile or play on your sense of guilt.
They may also use overly complicated speech to overwhelm you. Most companies and legal agencies have systems in place to help aid in getting information to you. Scammers often overuse “business jargon” to further confuse you and help “legitimize” themselves.
What you can do about being targeted
Being aware of the scams is the first step. It may seem pessimistic, but you should always be wary of unknown people, be it in the mail, in person, or over the phone.
When you only know the person online, do some research. Whether you see if there are any other instances of this or you google them to check their legitimacy .
NEVER open links in emails, texts, or pop-ups without first searching the source of the link or the link itself.
Keep personal devices password protected, update your software, and password protect your WiFi network.
For more tips for protecting yourself from scammers, check out scam watch for more!