Tips to Spot Scammers

Tips for spotting a scam

By Barry Trantham, East Winds District Finance Committee Chair


Pretends to be someone you know.

Scammers often pretend to be contacting you from the IRS or Social Security Administration, or from a company you’re familiar with like your bank.  They might make up a name that sounds official or say they’re calling on behalf of a loved one.

Recently our Treasurer received an email from an employee stating they have a new bank account and to please update their bank account information for deposit their payroll.


Presents you with a conditional prize or problem.

Scammers may say you’ve won a prize that’s too good to be true, and you have to pay a fee to receive it. They might say you’re in trouble with the government, or a family member is in trouble and needs money.


Pressures you to act immediately.

Scammers want you to act before you have time to think about it.  They may say a family member has an emergency or your computer has a virus.  Sometimes they threaten legal action, arrest, or freeze your bank account.


Ask you to pay in a specific manner

Scammers will often insist you pay by sending money through a payment app, wire transfer or by purchasing a gift card and then reading them the number on the back of the card.  Some will send you a fake check, ask you to deposit it, and then ask you to send them the money.


Actions to help protect yourself from scams


Block – filter unwanted emails to your spam folder and block unwanted calls and texts.

Resist – Don’t let anyone pressure or threaten you into giving them personal information or money.

Refuse – Even if it’s a business you recognize, don’t give them personal or financial information

Pause – If anyone says you must act immediately stop and ask yourself “Is this how a legitimate company would act?  If something seems off it probably is.

Validate – Instead of clicking links in emails and text messages or calling the numbers provided to you, use a company’s contact info from the official website.

Talk – If someone tells you to keep a secret or says something suspicious that makes you uncomfortable, stop and do a gut check with someone you trust.

Finally, the scammers are constantly using new tricks to get you money.  One of these new tricks is to use Artificial Intelligence to mimic the voice of a loved one and ask you to send money to post bail or pay a deductible for an emergency medical procedure.

The best way to defeat the scammers is to call the loved one on the number you know to be their number to verify the request.


East Winds District