When searching for targets, fraudsters seek out those they may benefit from the most. The potential victims are vulnerable due to age, circumstances, mental capacity, or any situation where the fraudster believes they can take advantage of an individual.
The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to be informed. Know of the different types of fraud and prepare how to respond. Below are several examples of common frauds that are committed each day. While any of these can be performed on any individual, seniors are often at the highest risk of being targeted.
Online Dating/Lonely Hearts/Sweetheart Scam
No matter what you call it, the scam is the same. These fraudsters are masters at manipulating people. They take their time, get to know their victim and their vulnerabilities. When trust has been established, they ask to take the relationship to the next level and meet in person. Then something happens that prevents them from traveling, usually involving money. The scammer will then ask for money from the victim to solve this problem. Another approach the scammer may take is to offer to send the victim money through their online banking. The scammer will ask the victim for login and password. Once the fraudster can access the victim's online banking, they have the ability to send money from the victim's accounts to anyone - anywhere.
These scams have been known to last even up to 6 months or a year online before the request for funds occurs. The scam continues until the victims’ bank account and heart is broken.
- Online dating can be a legitimate way to meet new people, but take these steps to protect yourself:
- Always be cautious when talking with someone you have never met.
- Never send money to someone you have not met face-to-face and really don't know.
- Talk to a trusted friend or family member about your relationship. Ask them to assess the situation and make sure things make sense.
- Trust, but verify. Look for ways to verify who the person is. Pictures that are posted on-line may be of anyone, not the person you are talking to.
Advanced Fee Scam
"Advance fees" are associated with many types of frauds. These scammers ask for money up front as a tax or participation fee before a prize is received for lottery winnings, publishers clearing house or other sweepstakes. The scammer may request the fees paid by having the victim send a wire (sometimes outside the US), purchasing various types of gift cards or mailing cash.
- Never pay money to get money.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it is.
- If you didn't enter a lottery, sweepstakes, or prize drawing, you didn't win.
Mystery Shopping/Work from Home
In this scam, the victim is “hired” to be a secret shopper and asked to evaluate the effectiveness of a money transfer service like Western Union or MoneyGram. The victim is mailed a check, told to deposit it into their bank account and withdraw some or all of the cash to complete the "mystery shopping". Then the victim is told to take the cash to a money transfer service and send to the scammer. A check or money order may be fake even if your bank lets you have the cash. After you deposit a check, the bank sends the check through the banking system before it is identified as fake. By the time this is identified, the money is gone. The depositor is held responsible.
- Legitimate Mystery shopping jobs are uncommon.
- Do NOT accept checks from someone you don't know.
- If you are hired by a company, your paychecks should be from the company that hired you, not another business.
- If you are unsure about a check, talk with your bank or financial institution. They may be able to take steps for additional verification.
- Wiring money is like sending cash. Once it is sent, it is nearly impossible to recover.
Deceptive Tech Support Operations
This scam typically starts with a phone call from a "technology" company telling them there is something wrong with their computer. Or, the victim may get a "pop up" when they are working on their computer that notifies them there is something wrong with their computer and directs them to click on an icon. Regardless of the method, the victim is told they need technical support because their computer is infected with a virus or has some other issue. Then, the victim will be charged hundreds of dollars for unnecessary repairs.
- Never click on pop-ups that tell you there is a problem with your computer.
- Never accept help from a phone call that you did not initiate. Hang up on the caller and call someone you know for assistance.
- If you need assistance with your computer take it to or call a local a reputable computer company.
- Consult with a trusted family member or friend if you are unsure who can help you.
Stay up-to-date on frauds and scams in your area through trusted channels or your local news or law enforcement websites. You can even sign-up to receive "scam alerts" through the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov. Old National is committed to keeping our communities safe from financial fraud; please continue to visit our website for articles and videos with tips on keeping you and your loved ones safe from financial exploitation. You can also find more information in our Security Center.
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