The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has just released the results of a comprehensive survey conducted two years ago regarding consumer fraud. According to the survey approximately 40 million people were fraud victims in 2017 with the most common types of fraud being phony weight loss products, tech repair scams and government impostor scams such as those in which you are told that you owe money to the IRS. The survey also indicated that people between the ages of 35 and 54 were the age group most likely to be scammed and that women were more likely to be scammed than men. Scammers often prey upon people who are the most vulnerable so it was not surprising that the survey also indicated that people who had experienced a negative life event such as a serious illness or the death of a loved one were more likely to be scammed and that people who are risk takers are also prime targets for scammers as were people experiencing financial difficulties.
The truth is that there are no quick fixes when it comes to weight loss and you should be wary of any product that promises you can lose tremendous amounts of weight quickly without dieting or exercise. You should also be wary of any weight loss product that is sold exclusively either over the Internet or through mail-order advertisements. The best course of action is to ask your physician about the effectiveness of a particular weight loss product or program before you reduce your wallet in an effort to reduce your waistline.
Tech support scams in which consumers are tricked by scammers into believing there is a problem with their computers that require the expensive services of the scammers are a major problem. Often these scams start with a pop-up window appearing on your computer screen indicating your computer has been infected. You are then prompted to call a phone number indicated in the pop-up where you may be told that you must to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to remedy the non-existent problems which would be done through giving the scammers remote access to your computer. Often the pop-ups carry the easily counterfeited logos of legitimate tech companies. Providing remote access to anyone to your computer can lead to a myriad of problems including identity theft and the downloading of ransomware. None of the tech companies ever ask for remote access to your computer to fix problems.
As for government impostor scams, it is important to note that neither the IRS nor the Social Security Administration will ever phone, email or text you demanding the payment of money. They will always initiate contact through regular mail. It is also important to remember that clever scammers can manipulate your Caller ID through a technique called spoofing to make it appear that the call from the scammer is coming from the IRS or some other legitimate entity.
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