The national Better Business Bureau just released it's list of the Top Ten Scams for 2013. The top scams include those that are most widespread, themost audacious, and those aimed at the most vulnerable.
Seniors citizens and caregivers be warned -- scammers are electronically stalking you. One of the top scams last year was deceptive robocalls tricking you into paying for an alert system you'll never get.
If you sell things on Ebay or other auction sites, do not assume the buyer is legit; scammers are looking to trick you. The buyer typically has an urgent need for you to expedite the shipping. You trustingly ship the package, and get an email payment confirmation from PayPal not knowing it's a fake, and the scammer gets your goods.
And watch out for the fake arrest warrant. Callers pose as law enforcement- and claim you'll be arrested unless you pay a fee. Other scammers pose as government officials claiming to reinstate you on the Do Not Call Registry, or Register you for Affordable Health plan.
Look twice before you open or reply to a text. Text scams are rampant. They look like an alert from your bank or other business- asking you to call or log on. But they're imposters-only after your personal information.
Rounding out the top ten scams- deceptive "talent scouts" and "modeling agents" promising auditions and exposure for your kids, the Facebook friend scam- where your newly-accepted friend is really a scammer using the Facebook identity of someone you know, home improvement and landscaping scams where contractors promise work, take your money, then disappear, and foreign currency investment schemes that promise huge profits once low-valued foreign currency is revalued with staggering appreciation.
Remember, regardless of the pitch, never give any information to someone who contacts you first and never confirm information with someone you don't know well. Get their information, tell a trusted friend of family member or make your own, independent call to the business or organization concerned. And never click on a link in unsolicited email, newsletter pop-up window or unfamiliar ad on the internet.
In most cases the scammers at the other end of these and other schemes are impossible to trace, are often overseas, and almost never get caught. And if money's involved - its usually gone for good.