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Local Woman Scammed of $500….Sadly, These Predators are Everywhere!

Alex Wong, Getty Images

My friend, Tina Charest, lost $500 last weekend when a woman, who identified herself as being from Central Maine Power, called and told her she had to pay $500 or her power was going to be shut off. When you’re operating a bar that sees it’s biggest nights on weekends, you’re going to be hard pressed to call the person’s bluff, especially when they’re as convincing as this woman apparently was…

Long story short, Tina got a Green Dot Card, as was suggested to her (red flag) and paid the bill, which turned out to be a well done scam.

Bottom line is, there are a bunch of these things out there and below, you’ll find a list of last years top scams and how they work. This may help you identify one if it comes your way!

The Better Business Bureau has identified the tops scams of 2013:

MEDICAL ALERT SCAM: Seniors and caretakers are targeted. Scammers say that their family has paid for the medical device but they WILL need the seniors bank account or credit information to proceed.

AUCTION RESELLER SCAM: PayPal and ebay are used to lure victims. They get sellers to mail the goods without payment by sending phony PayPal payment confirmations.

INVISIBLE HOME IMROVEMENTS: Scammers go door to door and offer a great deal for home repairs you can’t see..like in crawl spaces, around chimneys, etc….

CASTING CALL SCAM: Scammers pose as casting agents for hit tv shows and offer acting lessons or photography sessions and/or charge fees for fake applications and casting calls.

FOREIGN CURRENCY SCAM: Scammers target their victims and tell them they can make great investments by purchasing foreign currency. You are told you can sell and cash in when governments revalue the currency, but this is very unlikely to happen and the currency will be difficult to sell.

SCAM TEXTS: These texts look like an alert from your bank asking you to confirm information with a fake link. Sometimes the link will download malicious software that gives scammers access to everything on your phone.

DO NOT CALL LIST SCAMS: Scammers call and offer to add your name to the National Do Not Call Registry. They then charge a fee to join.

FAKE FACEBOOK FRIENDS: People create fake profiles and then friend you to prey on you or your friends.

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT SCAM: Scammers used the uncertainty of Obamacare to trick Americans into sharing personal information. They call victims and offer new insurance or Medicare cards if they provide personal information.

So, there ya go. Maybe hearing what some of the tactics of these losers are will help you be more aware. If someone you don’t know wants money, always question and confirm first. Once the money is gone, it’s too late to get it back.

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