Watch Out For Florida's Biggest Online Scams
Florida has become a prime focus of online scams. Falling victim to a scam can put you in serious financial hardship, and in some instances, people have lost virtually all of their savings and retirement funds. In a single phone call or online interaction, it's easy to lose thousands of dollars. Being aware of these risks is important, and taking a close look at the major scams that impact seniors every day around the country could help Florida residents know when to spot a scam and how to avoid it.
The 7 Main Scams Affecting Floridians
While it's possible to do even more research online to really learn about the different scams that could be a problem, taking a closer look at the main ones is often enough to avoid falling prey to them. With that in mind, here's a quick rundown of the seven main scams that seniors fall for today.
- Tech Support Scam - The tech support scam is simple enough. Someone receives a call and is told that their computer is locked or infected by a virus. Then, they must give personal information to access the computer. It's all false, obviously, but some seniors fall victim to this one regularly.
- Emergency Email Scam - A family member sends an email and claims that they're in an emergency situation and need money quickly. Except, they're not really a family member at all. It's important to verify the identity of someone before giving them anything.
- Lottery Winnings - Another common one is to get an email, Facebook message, or phone call about a lottery prize that you've won. They'll instruct the 'winner' to wire money or provide a bank account number to get their winnings, which don’t' actually exist.
- Free Vacation Scam - Whether it's a free dinner, a free cruise, or a free vacation, nothing offered online or by phone without provocation will really be free. Instead, it's much more likely that you'll be scammed or that you'll have to sit through a long presentation.
- Phishing - Email phishing scams are among the most common types of scams used today. Emails are sent from an account posing as a reputable company or entity, asking for personal or financial information. If provided, the scammer quickly uses the info to drain your bank account.
- Catfishing - Also called 'sweetheart scams', this involves taking the time to befriend and romance someone online, then convincing them to send money. It can be a very involved, long-term scam, but it has taken tens of thousands from some unsuspecting and lonely seniors.
- Pyramid Schemes - Finally, pyramid schemes and other get-rich quick schemes are worth knowing about as well. Generally, these are presented by friends or family as a business opportunity, but they may also be used by random strangers online. The bottom line is that only a few people will ever make money off of these 'network marketing' programs, and they should be avoided entirely.
These basic scams could cost thousands to those who fall for them. As such, it's important that you learn to recognize and avoid them.