BEFORE YOU GO...
Check how Shufti Pro can verify your customers within secondsRequest Demo
On April 11, Marilyn Mott, director of the Better Business Bureau’s Prescott office, addressed a meeting of the Mingus Mountain Republican Club in Cottonwood, discussing common scams that individuals and businesses fall for and methods of avoiding them.
Mott addressed several myths regarding scams, including the notion that it is easy to identify a fraud or scammer. Fraudsters manipulate and play with their targets’ emotions to gain valuable information.
One myth is that elderly or undereducated individuals fall victim to scams. She reported that 82% of individuals reporting and claiming about scams are adults and hold a bachelor’s degree. It has been found that adults between 18 and 24 are at higher risk of falling victim to scams than those over 65.
Despite this, Mott rejects the notion that scams are financially insignificant to the community. According to FTC or Federal Trade Commission data, scam victims lose approximately $300. Over $30 billion has been lost throughout the United States in money that could have been used to support local businesses and charitable organisations.
Whilst addressing the frauds and scams, she urged the audience to support local businesses and purchase regional products. Mott added, “To make your lives easier and support your local communities, shop local.”
According to Mott, remaining informed and educated is the most effective defense against scams. Approximately 60 percent of scam victims report ignorance of the fraud techniques.
Moreover, Mott noted that fewer than 40% of people report scams, contrary to claims that reporting them could be more effective. She explained that fear or embarrassment must be rejected to help others recognise potential threats.
The BBB has identified the following scams as the most common:
- Scam by the Internal Revenue Service
- Tech and debt collection scams
- Scams concerning credit cards
- Fraudulent checks or money orders
- Scams via email
- Scams involving sweepstakes, lottery prizes, and government grants
Mott reminded attendees it is crucial to refrain from clicking on an email from an unknown source. The likelihood of an email being spam increases if it contains many spelling errors.
In addition, for protection against scams, she recommends using a credit card and related a story about a scam that occurred with someone she knew. The homeowner was approached by a stranger who offered to fix a crack in the driveway. He claimed to have fixed his neighbour’s driveway. A check was written to them by the homeowner, half of the driveway was completed, and the workers left for lunch, never returned, but cashed the check.
According to Mott, when signing any contract, it is essential to read the fine print, particularly regarding liability and cancellation rights. She advised listeners to be cautious when receiving computer pop-ups, particularly those that appear to be virus warnings.
Mott added that someone claiming to represent Microsoft contacted a family member, informing them that the computer was having technical difficulties. Despite knowing it was a scam, he ignored it. He did not notice the warning when it appeared on his screen a couple of weeks later, and he provided the scammers with his credit card information. As he used a credit card to pay, he could stop the transaction and obtain a refund.
Aside from this, Mott alleges that sharing information via social media and the Internet, such as posting pictures of a vacation, can potentially facilitate robberies.