How con artists use scare tactics for scams (and how you can stop them)


Scams can take endless forms, but intimidation scams are the most threatening and familiar. You can probably think of a few: tax scams, imposter scams, and locking you out of your information, to name a few.

But when we break down how scare tactics work, it can be easier to spot them and stop them. Here are three ways con artists use scare tactics of scams and how you can stop them.

1. Targeting your personal information

Scammers are targeting your money and information, like your bank account or social security number, because they want to steal from you and people in your network. But asking you to give up this information is also an effective way to make you feel more vulnerable.

One common intimidation scam, for example, is phony debt collection. Here’s how it works: a person gets a call from someone saying they are a debt collector and that this person has an outstanding debt. If they don’t pay back the money in 24 hours, the police will arrest them.

Victims of this scam feel intimidated because they’re caught off guard and vulnerable. That’s why you must have an in-depth knowledge of your financial situation and debts if you have them. In scenarios like this, it’s also best to block the number that calls you.

2. Invading your privacy

Scammers frequently contact victims by texting or calling them. But social media is more commonly used for scams because con artists can quickly and easily reach millions.

Sometimes this means cat-fishing a target, meaning they pretend to be someone they are not online. It can also mean duplicating your profile or hacking into your account. This is effective because, again, con artists feel close to you, so you feel vulnerable.

Follow these tips to ensure that your online bank accounts (and any other online account) are safe. If you ever receive a message that seems phishy, call or text the person directly, ensure they are okay, and warn them about their hacked account.

3. Thriving on fear

Fear is a powerful scam tactic because it creates confusion. But in those moments, it’s essential to stay calm.

Stay informed about common scams with the IRS Tax Scam and Consumer Alert Page. Don’t be afraid to end a call or block a number or profile if something doesn’t seem right about a conversation. And remember, your bank is always there to give you peace of mind.

Stay informed and learn more about specific scare tactics. Listen to our Dream, Plan, Live episode – Fraud Noir: Scare Tactics.

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