woman talking on a cell phone

It’s a common misconception that only a small portion of the population is affected by scams. Many think it’s just the elderly falling for phishing emails or devious plots to steal their social security numbers, but scams affect millions in various age groups each year. Here are the top frauds people experienced in 2020. 

The IRS Ploy

The IRS will never contact you through any means other than the mail. Unfortunately, that’s something most people are unaware of. Scammers used email and phone calls, posing as the IRS, in an attempt to gain access to individual’s banking and tax information. 

In most cases, scammers claim that someone owes taxes. This is enough to make most people afraid of government repercussion, so they willingly hand over the information to avoid any penalties. In some cases, scammers even used the mail to make themselves appear more valid. Email phishing@irs.gov if you suspect foul play. 

Telephone Wiring

The old telephone money wiring scam is still alive and well, but criminals also rely on robocalls and text messaging to meet their nefarious goals these days. It often starts with the promise of a free product or service, an opportunity to invest, or is disguised as a charity for disaster relief. 

From there, criminals convince victims to hand over their credit card or bank account numbers. Each ploy sounds enticing, making it easy to think you’ve won something or are doing the right thing. However, these criminals will drain your accounts dry once they have access. 

Social Security Scams

These types of frauds are still a major problem, requiring skilled legal aid like this federal crimes attorney in NYC, and scammers are getting smarter. In 2020, most criminals acted as though there was a problem with the victim’s social security account. Posing as a benefits investigator, they use the gift of gab until the victim hands over those all-important numbers. 

Once they have those digits, they pretend that the account is suspended and give victim’s a false telephone number to call if they wish to resolve the problem. Of course, there is no resolution center. While there are still email social security scams, this newer one proves far more efficient. 

In the Name of Love

Finally, there are predators throughout the web looking to tug on people’s heartstrings until they empty their wallets. Fake profiles are created, often made to look highly appealing, and the criminal will slowly build trust with the victim as they create a false romance. 

Eventually, the criminal will make a plea for financial support. They’ll say they’ve fallen on hard times, that they were robbed, that they were the victims of a disaster, or any other story to get people to empty their bank accounts. It starts small, but eventually they maintain a handful of victims sending them steady streams of cash. 

Pursuing this type of criminal fraud is challenging, as the victim is never quite sure who the person really is. It often takes a combination of a private detective and skilled legal representation, like this Santa Ana criminal defense attorney, to seek justice. 

Don’t Be the Victim

The best way to avoid these and other scams is to simply be aware that they exist. Knowing how criminals try to pry open your finances allows you to be on guard for fraud, protecting yourself and others from these devious plots.