GREENSBORO, NC -- A survey by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority shows more than 8 in 10 consumers have been targeted by con-artists.
What's interesting is, although 11% of respondents lost money in a likely fraudulent activity, only 4% admitted to being a victim of fraud when asked directly-an estimated under-reporting rate of over 60%.
Craig Moser with Maestro Wealth Advisors is talking with 2WTK about the most common schemes.
Emails from Abroad: You've probably heard of this one - someone claims to be from another country and they want to wire millions of dollars to you if you pay their fees. Don't give these people your bank account numbers, they can wipe out your account.
Lottery Winners: Don't fall for it if you get a letter or email saying you won a lottery you never entered. This is a scheme that's been around for years.
Free lunch: They say there's no such thing as a free lunch - keep that in mind. You'll be offered a free lunch and pitched a scam. These people will take your money and you'll never hear from them again. There are legitimate professionals who serve free lunch at educational sessions. You'll know the difference because at a legitimate free lunch, no one will ask for your personal information.
Penny Stocks: Schemers will post messages, write blogs, and send emails advertising low-price, thinly traded securities. It's often billed as "the next big thing", like marijuana stocks, clean energy and gold. Scammers will sell their shares and take the money, leaving investors with nothing when the price plummets.
Cold calls: Keep your guard up, even if the person on the other end of the line sounds nice, and isn't too aggressive. Schemers know how to build friendships over the phone.
Caught In A Scheme? If you've gone a step further and given a fraudster bank account information, credit or debit card information, or personal information like your social security number, call your bank, credit card company, or one of the three credit bureaus right away. They can help close accounts, or suggest ways to protect your credit file.
You can get a FREE credit report from each of the three bureaus: Experian, Trans Union & Equifax. To get your FREE report go to AnnualCreditReport.com