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WARNING: 3 New Scams to Be Aware of

by on July 9, 2012

By Samantha Savory

With the popularity of the Internet, social media platforms and all things tech, identity theft and fraudulent scams have become even more prevalent than ever before. There are many types of theft scams taking place all over the world – mortgage or credit fraud, online ID theft, medical identity theft and child identity are just a few to name. Scam artists have even gone so far to steal the identities of dead people.  These scam artists are always coming up with new ways to steal from innocent people but recently, three major scams have been affecting masses of people nation-wide. ID theft prevention tip 101 is to never give out your personal information. If someone asks for your social security number, or bank account information, do not give it to them. Also, if a representative from a company you have never heard of before wants a huge up-front fee before they provide you a service, chances are, they are running a scam on you. Below are three new scams to be aware of.  If you have heard of or fallen victim to another new type of scam, feel free to share with us in the comment section!

1. Mortgage help – Millions of Americans are facing mortgage woes and are underwater or have mortgages that are larger than the estimated price of their homes.  This has led many to become desperate for help to lower their monthly payments and keep their home.  Unfortunately, scam artists are taking advantage of innocent homeowner’s desperation. In a new mortgage relief scam, criminals may contact your via phone or email, usually sound very intelligent and know the mortgage industry well. They will claim they need a large up-front fee ($1,000 to $3,000) to lower your mortgage interest rate or help you receive a loan modification or refinance. After you send them the fee (electronically or through the mail), they will suddenly disappear.  Phone numbers will stop working, emails will bounce back and their website will be gone. Do not fall for this. All mortgage relief companies are usually a government or educational company and do not charge a fee at all. If anything, they may charge a small fee not surpassing $50.

2. President Obama will pay your utility bill – The heat waves this summer have reached astronomical levels. Over 30 people have reportedly died from this summer’s heat and scam artists are taking advantage of this. With the outrageous heat levels, everyone’s utility bills are nearly tripling leaving people searching for ways to “lower” their bills.  Criminals are claiming a new federal government assistance program, created by President Barack Obama, pays for utility bills. All you have to do is provide your bank account information, social security number and other personal information. This is a scam and no such program exists.

3. Win a free $500+ gift card to Best Buy or Target – Have you ever received a text message or email claiming you just won a free gift card to Best Buy or Target? To “claim” your prize you MUST enter your personal information on a suspicious website and then you will have it sent to you.  This is a scam to attain your personal data in an effort to commit an identity crime. This is also another scheme that marketing companies are using to gain your contact information so they can call or email you and sell you a new product.

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