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As technology advances, fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in their ways of scamming you out of your money.

The damage that scams can do to victims’ financial and emotional well-being is frightening. In fact, in 2022, Americans lost over $40 billion to phone scams.

There are two major categories of scams, which can be broken down into social engineering and phishing.

Social engineering is usually carried out in person. It involves fraudsters using psychological manipulation to get their hands on your confidential information and money.

On the other hand, phishing is usually carried out online, involving fake communication from a reputable organization or bank. The scammer then tries to steal your personal information, such as your login credentials and credit card information.

In 2023, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of scams.

Romance Scams

Romance scams are social engineering frauds that can cause financial ruin and heartbreak.

Unlike Netflix’s “The Swindler,” which featured an elaborate scheme, romance scams are usually carried out online. The criminal gets you on a social media or dating app, then tries to get into an immediate relationship with you. One common sign that a romance scammer is likely to live far away is that they often make plans to meet in person but never follow through.

In most cases, the criminal will ask you to send money to settle medical bills or get them out of jail. They will also instruct you to put the money on a gift card or wire it to them.

Victims of romance scams typically have serious trust issues, are in debt, and are struggling with legal problems. To avoid falling for a scam, try going slowly in online romances.

Charitable Donation Scams

Scammers will do anything in order to get your money. That includes trying to take advantage of your empathy.

There are many charity scams, such as one-man operations and complex setups by registered non-profit organizations. The money raised doesn’t help the cause, and it goes straight to the criminal.

This scam can occur as both phishing or social engineering. Phishing involves sending an email or website that looks like it’s from a reputable organization. In social engineering, the criminal uses psychological manipulation to try and manipulate the victim.

Before giving money to a charity, ensure the organization is legitimate. Also, look for the organization’s EIN number on its website to ensure the money goes to the correct place.

Gift Card Scams

A survey conducted by the American Association of Retired Persons revealed that in 2022, 26% of Americans received a gift card without any funds on it.

Before you use a gift card, it’s important to keep in mind that criminals can easily drain the card’s balance. They can remove the card from the store’s shelf, remove the protective strips, and steal the bar codes.

They then enter the card’s code into a program that will monitor the retailer’s website and inform the criminal when the card is bought so they can cash or spend it. Unfortunately, the card will immediately become worthless once it reaches its intended recipient.

Some fraudsters display advertisements or websites that claim to be able to check the balance of your gift card. You then provide your card information in order to allow the criminal to drain its funds.

Before you buy a gift card, make sure that it’s not damaged or compromised. Also, avoid buying it from an organization that doesn’t have a good reputation.

Weight Loss and Fitness Scams

It’s common for people to want to achieve remarkable results when it comes to their fitness goals. Unfortunately, scam artists are exploiting this desire to lose a few pounds to boost their bank accounts.

On the phishing front, fraudsters will typically display an ad or website that claims to be promoting a fitness program. Their goal is to trick the victim into providing their personal information.

They may also try to convince you to join a low-cost gym membership program or a different kind of fitness product in order to get a quick and significant weight loss.

The bottom line is to avoid investing too much money or getting carried away by a product or service that seems too good or cheap.

Car Warranty Scams

When a scam is made into a meme, you know just how prevalent is has become.

Recently, there have been various videos and images online that made fun of the phone calls that people receive regarding their vehicle’s extended warranty.

Many people can attest to receiving several weekly calls regarding their vehicle’s extended warranty. There are software apps that can help you to block these calls.

If you’re still receiving these calls, it’s important that you continue to ignore them. In most cases, the fraudsters will try to convince you to provide their bank or personal information in order to scam you out of money.

After receiving a pre-recorded message, hang up immediately. If you think that the call is from a local car dealership, you can try calling their number back.

You can avoid getting caught in con artists’ schemes with the right strategies.