You probably know that where opportunity exists, con artists will take advantage. Unfortunately, the rise of digital money movement services, like Venmo and Zelle, has offered plenty of opportunity to unscrupulous folks who wish to take advantage. The services themselves are legitimate, but some of the people requesting money transfers are not!

If you receive an email or instant message that includes a request for payment, never instantly transfer the money without investigating the legitimacy of the person or group who sent the message. In particular, you should never send many to any of the following people or organizations:

  • Government agencies like the IRS or Social Security (they don’t contact people online)
  • Someone from your bank or another financial institution, telling you that your account has been compromised
  • Anyone who instructs you to send money to “yourself” for some reason
  • Those who claim to be cryptocurrency websites or salespeople, unless you’ve independently verified them
  • Those asking you to make a purchase outside of a real online marketplace like Amazon or Etsy
  • Anyone who plays on your sympathy and asks for money due to a “hard luck” story

One of the main things to remember about financial scams is that they seek to quickly incite and then manipulate your emotions. So if a message makes you feel sorry for someone, guilty about something you supposedly did, fearful of a consequence, or hope to get rich quick, it is likely a part of a financial scam.

If you do feel concerned about the possibility of a debt, for example with the IRS or Social Security, don’t attempt to clarify the issue through email. Call that agency and speak with a representative who can assist you.

We aim to help you keep all of your assets safe and secure. Let’s discuss your financial habits at our next meeting, and we can offer more tips that will benefit you.