Scammers Know the Weak PointsGreed - Let's face it - all humans have a greedy, me first streak. Scammers play on this with offers of little work for big bucks, fantastic returns on investments, convincing victims they are the lucky ones, etc. These are all forms of the old something for nothing fraud. Don't be one of those mind boggling number of people that still falls for it.
Fear & Uncertainty - Both of these are unavoidable parts of life. Scammers try to convince people they have solutions, for a fee. The new health care legislation has spawned a number of insurance scams, as has the mortgage foreclosure crisis. Numerous frauds have surfaced that try to push great deals on health insurance. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud has more information about these scams. Others out there claim to help you with mortgage problems so you can keep your home. Learn more about mortgage fraud from the FBI website.
Sympathy - As soon as a disaster strikes, scammers go into high gear. The biggie is soliciting donations for victim relief. Hurricane Katrina, earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, and the BP oil spill disaster are all recent examples of disasters that the fraud artists pounced on. NEVER give money to anyone on the phone and be extremely careful if donating through a website. The safest way to contribute is in person at a local agency office or by mail to a verifiable agency address.
Verify, Verify, VerifyDon't trust anyone you don't know. The best scam artists are slick and friendly, trying to gain trust and get you off guard so you'll do what they want. Even if whatever they have looks attractive, verify the offer for yourself. If they can't or won't give you enough information to check them out before you agree to anything, assume the worst and walk away.
If you are asked for money up front, consider it a red flag warning that something is rotten. The same goes if you are asked for personal and financial information such as bank account numbers, credit card numbers, etc. Turn away and don't look back.
Scams and Frauds in the Reno AreaIf you suspect a scam or fraud, or become a victim, report it immediately to one of our local law enforcement agencies. A timely report increases the chances of catching these criminals.
- Reno Police Department - (775) 334-2121.
- Sparks Police Department - (775) 353-2279.
- Washoe County Sheriff's Office - (775) 328-3001.
- Washoe County District Attorney - (775) 789-7171.
- Reno Better Business Bureau - Check out a business or charity and get scam alerts.
- Nevada Fight Fraud - Information from the State of Nevada Department of Business & Industry. Learn about currently active scams and frauds in Nevada.
More About Scams and FraudsI could go on forever and not cover all the scams and frauds out there. Here are some sources of current information about what to avoid and what to do if you become a victim...
- Federal Citizen Information Center - Scams, frauds, and consumer abuse items in the news.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation - Common fraud schemes.
- Scambusters.org - Internet scams, identity theft, and more.
- Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco - Information about protecting yourself from fraud.
- Internal Revenue Service - Suspicious emails and identity theft.
- Internet Crime Complaint Center - Current trends in crime perpetrated over the Internet.
- Fraud Aid - Fraud victim advocacy.
- Scamdex - Email scam resource.
- AARP - Scams and frauds aimed at older citizens.