Don't Be a Victim: Scams in the New Year

Don't Be a Victim: Scams in the New Year

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - It's that time of year when many of us are making resolutions about things we want to change or improve on in the new year ahead.

One of those resolutions won't cost you a thing, and could actually save you thousands of dollars.

In this week's 'Don't Be a Victim,' we've got some simple steps you can follow to fight scammers in the year ahead. We warned you about a number of scams that made the rounds last year. Fraudsters claiming to be the IRS, a charity, targeting the elderly by pretending to be a grandchild in trouble, or the old jury duty scam that cost a Savannah woman $1,200.

"I said 'warrant? Warrant for what?' And he said, 'You missed jury duty,' said Violeta Hicks.

All of these imposter scams have something in common. They pretend to be a known trusted organization in order to trick you into making a payment or turning over personal or financial information.

"They told me to purchase these three cards and put a certain amount of money - $400 each - on the cards," Hicks said.

Here's some advice that can keep you from becoming a victim of these types of fraudsters.

  • Spot imposters and don't give out money or personal information in response to an unexpected request.
  • Do online searches for reviews, complaints, or scams associated with a company. You can even search phone numbers to see if others have reported them as scams.
  • Don't believe caller ids. If someone calls asking for money or personal information, hang up. If you think the caller might be telling the truth, call back to a number you know is genuine.
  • Do not pay up front for a promise of any kind.
  • Consider how you pay. Credit cards have built-in fraud protection. Wiring money is risky because it's impossible to get your money back.
  • Talk to someone you trust before giving out money or information. Con artists try to hurry you into a bad decision.
  • Hang up on robocalls.
  • Be skeptical about free trial offers.
  • Don't deposit a check and then wire money back.
  • Sign up for free scam alerts from the Bureau of Consumer Protection and the Federal Trade Commission.

Follow these steps so that criminals don't get their hands on your hard earned money in 2018.

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