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Top Financial Scams of 2023

  1. Debt relief scams marketed through robocalling and social media: See the article below.

  2. Free gift QR code scams: Once you scan the code, you download a virus, or the QR code actually sends you to a malicious website.

  3. Disaster relief access or disaster relief filing scams: The goal is to obtain an upfront fee, access to your accounts, or steal your vital information to take over your identity.

  4. Payday loan scams: These scams are generally looking for a fee paid upfront.

  5. Charitable donation scams: They steal your donation and/or your credit card information.

  6. Romance scams: These scams are very prevalent on social media and almost nothing is done to stop them. The goal is to obtain cryptocurrency, gift cards, or wire transfers from you. They attempt to convince you that they (allegedly a friend or loved one) ran into trouble with the law, or have a medical issue, and they need help. Additionally, a trending crime is for a new, online romantic interest to talk you into sending them an “intimate” picture of yourself. Once they obtain the picture, they blackmail you by threatening to send it to all your contacts on social media or to your significant other.

  7. Imposter scams: Posing as a company (such as Amazon) claiming your account is suspended and you must act now.

  8. Online shopping scams: Products or services that do not exist

  9. Prize, sweepstakes, and lottery scams: Pay a fee to get your prize.

  10. Investment scams:

Most Common Warning Signs of An Investment Scam:

  • Any time you hear about a high rate of guaranteed returns, be extremely cautions.

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is NOT true.

  • Don’t be fooled by a sophisticated website or a charming investment advisor.

  • You are given little documentation or hard, verifiable facts. Verify any performance claims using another source (other than those provided by the investment manager or advisor). Fraudsters depend upon most people being too lazy to check the facts they are given. If you are unable to find this much information on the investment, that is a warning sign as well. (see #5 and #6 below.)

  • Is the investment registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)?

  • The advisor pressures you to invest your money now.

  • You are given unsolicited investment information.

  • The salesperson is not registered with your state or with SEC.

  • “Secret” or complex strategies are used to generate high returns.

  • Difficulty receiving the promised payments from the investment.

  • Very consistent returns despite variable economic conditions could be a warning sign.

  • If you have any concerns, call the SEC’s toll-free investor assistance line at 800-732-0330.

~ Larry Faulkner

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