Conn. (WTNH) — The Federal Trade Commission is out with new numbers on fraud in America. Almost 2.5 million Americans filed fraud reports to the FTC last year, and they lost a lot of money.
We’re Stretching Your Dollar with some tips from experts about how you can be on the lookout for someone who may be trying to scam you.
Consumers reported losing nearly $8.8 billion to fraud in 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission. That’s more than 30% higher than 2021. Experts said fraudsters have certain tactics that they use to try to steal your money, and often, they attempt to play on your emotions.
“Scammers, regardless of the type of scam they’re using, typically try and create a sense of urgency,” John Breyault of the National Consumers League said. “Either it’s an urgency or something bad is going to happen unless you act right away or you’re going to miss out on something good unless you act right away. The key is they’re trying to get you to think emotionally.”
Scammers sometimes try to get you to pay them money in ways that are unusual.
“Asking you to pay with a gift card or send money through a peer to peer app like Cash App or Venmo or Wire Transfer or like Western Union, those are really common payment methods that scammers employ regardless of the type of scam that they are running,” Breyault said.
And they often stress that the fake deal they may be pitching should be kept secret.
“They will often try and isolate you, try and make it sound like you shouldn’t tell anybody about what’s happening,” Breyault said.
So, what are some things you can do to avoid getting scammed?
Beware of phone calls or text messages from people you don’t recognize.
“If you get one of those, the best course of action is just not to respond at all,” Breyault said. “And somebody who really wants to get in touch with you, chances are they can probably find a different way to get in touch with you.”
Never click on a link in an email or text message from someone you don’t know.
“That’s a very common tactic that scammers introduce to try and get you to a website where they can obtain personal information,” Breyault said.
Also, experts said to never make an immediate impulse decision. Give yourself some time to think it through before you send money to anyone you don’t know.