CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Millions of people get phony calls, fake emails, or scams trying to gather your money or personal information.
Consumer Investigative Reporter Bill McGinty is always knee deep in stories on these topics trying to help people that have been scammed. Here are the top five scams you need to watch out for in 2019.
It’s estimated that 1.4 million fake websites are created every month, and criminals are sometimes replacing these sites every couple of hours to stay one step ahead of law enforcement and web blockers.
Scams just never seem to end, and every year they get worse. 2018 was no exception.
The top scam last year? On-line purchases that feature a convincing websites could get you to send money for products that don’t exist or never arrive.
Next up, employment scams. You know, those “work from home” offers. They usually want you to play the middle man for a small cut, or in some cases, you have to pay them. Don’t fall for these.
Another big scam is the old fake check and money order.They may look real, but they’re not. In the scam, you deposit what is actually a bogus check, then send the scammer a small portion of it back. By the time the fake check is discovered, you’re out what you sent the scammer.
Free money just doesn’t exist.
Phishing scams work worldwide, millions of people get these, which is why they work. Strangers request money or personal information, all wrapped around some sob story that is a fake or some offer that doesn’t exist.
Tax collection scams will be ramping up soon with the start of tax season. The IRS will never call you asking for information like social security or a birth date.
Sometimes in these cases, the caller threatens you, like with prosecution or jail time. Don't fall for the empty threats -- it's just a scam.
One of the most shocking of the lot is the grandparent scam, where scammers call pretending to be a grandchild, saying they’re in trouble and need money. If this happens to you, hang up and call your family to see if everything is alright.