Technology offers some of the most convenient and exciting new tools, to make life easier, more fun, and even more profitable. But the downside of technology is that scammers can use it to conduct more widespread and damaging schemes. The following four scams have become more prevalent in recent years. Know what to look for, so that you don’t fall victim to one of them.
Stimulus checks and tax returns. Remember that the IRS will never call you on the phone to discuss your tax return or a potential stimulus check. Scammers might use emotion against you, such as promising you’re due another stimulus check or inducing fear that your tax return is being audited. After you let down your guard, they begin to ask details such as your Social Security number to “verify” their information. They’re really just after your personal information, which they then use to steal your identity and/or take out credit cards or other debts in your name.
Romance scams. Many of us experienced divorce or widowhood later in life, and those events can leave us feeling lonely. Unfortunately, scammers have learned to take advantage of heightened emotions during these times. Be very aware, while using social media or dating sites, that people often pretend to be someone that they aren’t. Scammers might spend weeks or even months getting you hooked with hopes of a future, only to request money for an “emergency” and then disappear.
Celebrity impersonators. Recently, online scammers pretended to be Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla. Advertising a special event, impersonators requested that participants send cryptocurrency to Musk (in reality, their own accounts), promising the money would be doubled and returned. Of course, those who participated simply lost their cryptocurrency, and Elon Musk was not at all involved in the scheme.
Message board hype. Be careful about seeking financial advice online. Message boards often become awash with speculation regarding one “hot stock” or another, with readers clamoring to jump on the latest potential short squeeze. In most cases, these situations are simply the result of rumors gone wild. But in other cases, the “rumors” might be spread on purpose. Talk to an experienced financial planner about potential investments, and don’t get too excited about anything you read on message boards.
And on that note, give us a call to discuss your long-term financial plan. We can help you sort through various opportunities for growth and prepare for the future.