1 Bogus cryptocurrency investment scams

As the popularity of cryptocurrency grows, so does the interest of scammers in crypto-related scams. This is the first on our list of popular scams to avoid. Consumers reported losing over $1 billion to cryptocurrency fraud from January 2021 to March 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Most of the losses involved bogus crypto investment opportunities. It’s important to note that nearly half of the victims of a cryptocurrency scam said that it started with a social media ad, post, or message.

Warning signs of a crypto scam 

  • Someone who guarantees a big return for investing in cryptocurrency.
  • You are contacted out of the blue by someone you don’t know about a big cryptocurrency investment opportunity.
  • Someone who requires you to buy or pay in cryptocurrency.
  • A bogus website with fake testimonials about big cryptocurrency returns.
  • A romantic interest you just met on a dating app or social media encourages you to invest in cryptocurrency. That is a big red flag.

As with anything else, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. No cryptocurrency investment is ever guaranteed to make money.

2 Employment scams

Employment scams are also prevalent right now. A scammer will pose as a recruiter or employer, offering a job seeker a position with a legitimate employer. Employment scams are designed to lure out of work people with the promise of a good job, often with a fee payable in advance.

Protecting yourself from an employment scam

  • Look for errors in the original job posting. When it comes to scams, you will often find misspellings, grammatical, and other errors. The job description may also be vague and have very little detail.
  • Verify with the potential employer/company that there is actually a position and if you really got the job. If the company’s online presence is non-existent, it is probably a scam. Google the job. If you search it online and it’s popping up in different cities all over the place, it may be a scam.
  • Keep your confidential information private. If a recruiter is asking for your social security number, do not provide it. You shouldn’t have to provide that until you are actually hired by an organization. Avoid sending money or providing information to anyone you don’t know.
  • Don’t pay upfront or training expenses for the promise of a job. You should not have to make any upfront payment for the promise of a job.
  • Do not feel pressured with a sense of urgency pitch. If someone tells you they are trying to fill the position that day, beware. Most companies have a process to fill a position.

3 Online romance scams

Reports of romance scams hit record highs last year with the FTC reporting $1.3 billion lost to romance scams in the past five years. Romance scammers will create fake online profiles and target a victim. Once they have a target hooked, they will play on their sympathies with a plea for money for health issues or a financial crisis. A growing trend in 2021 was scammers using a fake romance to lure people into phony investments, such as bogus cryptocurrency investments.

Red flags of a romance scam

  • They ask you to leave the dating or online app where you met and correspond more privately through another messaging platform, text, or email.
  • Their online profile and photo seem too good to be true. Remember what we said above, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • They ask for money or investment in something. If someone you recently met online or through a dating app is asking you to help by wiring money, sending cryptocurrency, or giving them the numbers on a gift card, they are scamming you.
  • They ask you for personal or financial information.
  • They live or are working far away. Many scammers claim to be in the military or working in another country, so it’s impossible to actually meet them in person.
  • The relationship moves quickly. Online dating scammers tend to create a strong and deep connection, moving quickly to take advantage of their victims.

Stay alert for these popular scams to avoid 

Being skeptical when you are contacted out of the blue is not being antisocial, it’s being smart. Never give in to pressure to act immediately or make a split-second decision. Watch for the warning signs of a scam, block unwanted calls, and text messages, and always protect your personal and financial information.

Tap for information on how and where to report various scams and frauds.

Read more helpful tips like this on the Guthrie Community Credit Union blog site.