Fraud Red Flags

Your money

  • A new "friend" who asks for funds to be wired to an unknown third party or to a country other than where the friend is located 
  • An urgent or outrageous reason for needing cash – for example, "I need money to get gold or my inheritance through customs" or "pay for a broken part on an oil rig"
  • Requests for cash-only donations or unfamiliar charities that spring up after a natural disaster
  • A request to pay for anything via bitcoin or gift cards 
  • A check made out for more than you were expecting, especially if the payer then asks you to wire back a portion of the proceeds
  • A request to pay money to get money or a required upfront payment of fees or maintenance costs, including when selling a timeshare  
  • High paying work from home jobs that require up-front payment for a computer, software or training

Your correspondence

  • A letter indicating you are a "winner" of a sweepstakes when you didn’t enter a contest 
  • Notification from an overseas bank or law firm of an inheritance from an unknown relative
  • Telephone calls from the IRS or other government agencies requesting a payment 
  • An email containing spelling errors, bad grammar or a link that appears unrelated to the sender 
  • Calls from purported computer technicians alleging they’ve detected a virus or other problems on your home computer. These notifications could also include emails, attachments or pop up screens on your computer

Your identity

  • Statements that don’t arrive as expected 
  • The Social Security Administration contacting you to advise your Social Security number was used in a crime, has been frozen, or will be deleted
  • Unexpected credit cards or account statements, or collection calls or letters about purchases you didn’t make 
  • Denials of credit for no apparent reason or significant, unexplained changes in your credit score 
  • Requests for personal information in a situation that usually wouldn’t require this disclosure

For older adults

  • Concern or confusion about missing funds from an account 
  • Unexplained changes in beneficiary designations 
  • A caregiver who isolates the older person from family, friends, community and other stable relationships 
  • Acquaintances or family members who seem overly interested in the older adult’s finances

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