OLYMPIA – Call them scammers, swindlers, fraudsters or grifters. But whatever you do, don’t believe a word they say.
Just like their counterparts over the ages convinced desperate dreamers to sink their savings into imaginary investments or lured lovesick loners into losing their family fortunes, today’s scam artists prey on people’s desires for love, money or good luck –and walk away with their wallets.
That’s why Attorney General Bob Ferguson has launched a new Web site dedicated specifically to educating people about the latest scams– just in time for National Consumer Protection Week 2013.
Visit this site to learn how to protect yourself from the nine most common scams, such as:
- The Relative in Need Scam: Fraudsters employ variations of this scam to convince people to wire funds to help friends or family who are usually in jail, out of the country with no money to get home or in some other form of trouble. They either phone, Facebook or e-mail people asking for help and creating such a desperate and dramatic situation, the target is panicked into wiring the money before they think to call the friend or family member to confirm they’re really in trouble.
- Investment Scams: In these scams, the criminal contacts people with a great investment opportunity. Sometimes they offer a free analysis of your investment portfolio. Others offer incredible returns on investments like gold coins, promissory notes secured by deeds of trust and even something called “viaticals,” where one buys the payments on a life insurance policy for someone who is about to die. While the specific details of the plan can vary depending on who is delivering the pitch, one thing is certain: it is a bad investment for everyone but the criminal.
- Foreign Lottery: In this scam, people receive a call, email or letter — usually from a foreign country — telling them they have winning lottery numbers, and all they need to do is call a toll-free number to find out more. There is no need to call that number. All the con criminal has is a winning way to take your money.
Receive up-to-the-minute updates on the latest scams by following @AGOWA on Twitter and searching for the hashtag: #agoscamalert.
Read about the latest scams and other consumer protection news on the All Consuming Blog.
The theme for National Consumer Protection Week 2013 is Your Information Destination.
Learn more or find ways to get involved at www.ncpw.gov.
Janelle Guthrie, Communications Director, Attorney General Bob Ferguson, 360-586-0725