Reloadable, prepaid debit cards
Reloadable, prepaid debit cards can be purchased from gift card kiosks at various nationwide chain stores. This scheme involves a criminal posting on a social media site that if you provide them with your card and identification number, they can increase the dollar amount on your reloadable debit card by simply adding a zero to the end of the current balance. For example, if you put $200 on the card, the criminal promises that they can easily make that become $2,000.
Criminals also set up fake websites posing as customer service representatives who can assist you with the return or refund of a reloadable debit card. During the call, they’ll tell you that the only way to process a refund is by loading an additional amount on the card. Once you provide the criminal with the card and identification number, they will place you on hold to “process the refund.”
In both instances, your prepaid debit card will be drained within seconds. Steer clear of any offer that seems too good to be true.
Internet auction sites
Websites such as Craigslist or eBay are a popular way to sell items. Let’s say you’ve gone online and posted an item for sale. You receive a message about your item from a potential buyer. The buyer would like to send you a cashier/certified check or money order in exchange for the product. These checks and money orders are almost always counterfeit and the financial institution will hold you responsible for attempting to cash them.
If a potential buyer does not live nearby or they refuse to meet face-to-face to complete the transaction, it’s most likely a scam.
On the flip side, perhaps you’re looking to purchase something yourself and find an item of interest online. The seller requests that you purchase a prepaid debit card for the amount of the item and simply provide them with the card and identification number. In turn, the seller never ships the product even though they have stolen the funds that you loaded onto the card.
Use caution when purchasing items online, especially when prepayments are requested.
Online dating is more popular than ever. This scheme involves criminals creating fake online dating profiles using stolen photographs of attractive people that have been copied from an individual’s social media profile. The criminal behind the fake profile will interact with you via the website, email and/or phone to help build credibility that they are “real.” Over a period of several weeks or months, they’ll attempt to gain your trust and empathy using fake information (e.g., living in poor conditions, controlling spouses that they need to escape or saying you are the true love they’ve been looking for). Once they have this, they’ll begin asking you to wire funds to them for travel expenses, hotel stays, or even a visa so that they may flee to be with you. When you send the money, your online sweetheart will not be arriving at the airport because they've already moved on to their next victim.
Be cautious when conversing with someone online because you never know who may actually on the other end.
Work from home
This scheme involves an email or social media post advertising that you can get paid a few hundred dollars per day to shop online from the comfort of your own home. Unfortunately, the criminals who are behind this scam are providing you with stolen credit and/or debit cards to purchase the goods that you’re shipping to them – most likely in a foreign country.
Regrettably, by participating in a scam of this nature you’re committing a crime and can be held liable.
High school diploma scams
Thinking about getting your high school diploma? Many states have different options for getting your diploma, including new tests and programs. But scammers are setting up fake diploma sites to trick you into paying for their “diplomas.” Which turn out to be worthless. Here are some signs you’ve come across a scam:
You can get the diploma from home, ASAP
No classes? No in-person test? All online? That’s a scam. Legitimate programs with classes for credit mean you’ll invest weeks or months of time. And real high school equivalency tests are offered at specific days and times, not on-demand. Most people don’t pass without really studying.
You have to pay for a diploma
No legitimate high school equivalency program lets you take a test or classes for free, then charges you for the diploma. You might pay for classes or testing, but you shouldn’t have to pay for the diploma itself.
They claim to be affiliated with the federal government
The federal government doesn’t offer programs for earning high school diplomas. Legitimate tests or programs are approved by your state.
Earning a diploma
You might have heard of the “GED” test. That’s one way to get your equivalency diploma — but it’s not the only way. There are other tests and programs to choose from, depending on where you live. To learn about legitimate ways to earn your high school diploma go to the FTC website.