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7 Financial Scams to Avoid in 2024

7 Financial Scams to Avoid in 2024

Jenius Bank Team5/9/2024
Shocked woman looking at her phone.

Scammers are tricky and try to steal your money.

Financial scams are quickly becoming an issue for Americans from all walks of life. As of December 2023, roughly 1 in 3 Americans had fallen victim to some kind of financial fraud.1 Scams are costly, with estimates reporting that scams cost Americans a total of $8.8 billion in 2022.2

Falling victim to even a small scam could cost you hundreds of dollars. That’s why it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the most common types of scams. Once you know what to watch out for, you may be able to avoid falling victim to financial, bank, or money scams of any kind.

Though new scams pop up each year, most fall under one of seven categories. Let’s take a look at the most common scams to help you avoid them.

Key Takeaways

  • Scammers are responsible for stealing billions of dollars each year from unsuspecting Americans.

  • Trust your instincts and remember that if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

  • If you think you’ve been a victim of a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and notify your bank or credit card company immediately.

1. Romance Scams

Romance scams cost Americans roughly $1.3 billion each year.3 These scams involve tricking victims into believing they’re in a relationship with someone who genuinely cares for them. Most of these scams happen through online dating and social media sites.

Once the scammer builds the victim’s trust, they often ask for money to help them cover an unexpected expense. Of course, each scam is unique and scammers tailor their efforts to the individual they’re trying to steal from. But they typically all have one thing in common: scammers refuse to meet with the victim in person and may come up with excuses as to why they can’t meet.

If you’ve met someone online, be mindful of what they’re asking you for and if they ask you for money, consider ending the relationship to protect your wallet.

2. Account Takeover Scams

Account takeover scammers try to trick you into giving them your login credentials for your bank accounts and credit card accounts.

They typically do this by calling or texting your primary phone number and telling you that they need your login credentials to verify your identity. Sometimes they claim a package couldn’t be delivered or fake “suspicious activity” showed up on your account. When you give them this information, they login to your account and then change your credentials to lock you out of the account.4

3. Imposter Scams

Imposter scams happen when someone contacts you claiming to be an authority figure like an IRS agent or your local sheriff in the hopes of tricking you into giving them money or personal information.

They typically use scare tactics like claiming you’re going be charged with a crime or by saying there’s an issue with your Social Security number and need it to verify your identity. They may also tell you that you need to pay them a certain amount of money to avoid going to jail.

If you get calls like this, never give them information. These scammers are out to steal your identity. Remember, the IRS never contacts you by email or text to discuss an issue.5 And if someone claims to be a member of local law enforcement, contact your city or county’s non-emergency line to see if it’s a legitimate call.6

4. Cryptocurrency Scams

Cryptocurrency scammers actively encourage people to invest in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin, and Binance. But when you send them money for those “investments,” they pocket the cash and leave you high and dry.

While investing in cryptocurrency is a viable option for some people, know that it’s not a sure thing. If a scammer promises you guaranteed returns or encourages you to download an app that you’ve never heard of, don’t send them information or download the app. Once they get your money, recovering it may be difficult, if not impossible.7

5. Peer-to-Peer Scams

Scammers often use peer-to-peer payment apps like Zelle or Venmo to steal your money and information. These individuals may claim to be someone from your bank or financial institution’s fraud department and state that someone was trying to steal your money through the payment app.

They may try to walk you through how to fix the issue, typically requesting that you send money to yourself to make sure your accounts are still linked correctly. But instead of the money going to your account, it ends up going to them.

With peer-to-peer payment apps, most payments sent through the app are final once the recipient accepts them. This means you likely won’t be able to recover the money. If someone claims to be from your bank’s fraud department, hang up and call your bank directly. They’re able to review your account and tell you if something is wrong.8

6. Overpayment Scams

Overpayment scams occur when someone sends you more money than you expected, or money appears in your account for seemingly no reason. This often happens when you sell something valuable and accept payment in the form of a personal check or cashier’s check.

The scammer then asks you to pay back the difference shortly after the sale takes place. But there’s a catch. The check you received isn’t good and is likely to bounce, so you’re out the money from the sale and the amount the scammer supposedly overpaid you.9

7. Employment Scams

With the rise in the popularity of remote work, there’s been an increase in the number of employment scams popping up.

Scammers post fake job ads claiming to be recruiters and employers looking for new talent. They often promise high pay for easy work at home. Once a victim applies, the fraudster asks you to send them your direct deposit information for your paycheck or asks you to send them a check to pay for equipment they never send. Once they have your account information, they could steal money.10

Do your due diligence before accepting a job with any employer. Research the company to make sure they’re legit and pay attention to the salary offered and the work expected. If the pay seems overly high for what you’re expected to do (think $50,000 per year for 10 hours of data entry each week), it’s likely a scam.

Final Thoughts

These scams are just some the most common ones circulating the country currently. If you suspect that you’re a victim, depending on the scam itself, report it to your financial institution and/or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) immediately.

At Jenius Bank, our team takes fraud seriously. If you notice suspicious activity on your account or are worried that your account information has been compromised in any way, don’t wait. Contact us immediately to speak to a member of our fraud department.

Fraud & SecurityFinancial Wellness