The Latest in Washington State Scams and How to Protect Yourself

If you’re a scammer, there’s money to be made from unsuspecting people who haven’t got their “scam” radar on high alert. Here are the latest scams we’ve heard about in Washington satte. Then check out the links and tipsat the end to help report a scam as well as avoid them in the first place.

You’ve Won the Lottery!

If you receive a letter bearing the Mega Millions logo saying you won a “Mega Millions Prize, watch out, especially if the envelope contains a counterfeit check, too. Unfortunately, you haven’t won anything, and if you’re not careful, you may end up giving personal financial information to the scammers. That’s the point behind this counterfeit draft money laundering scheme. If you deposit the check, it will be sent to the scammer with your bank’s routing and account information on it, allowing them to withdraw everything in your account. Contact Mega Millions if you feel you’ve been scammed.

Time Share Sale

Beware of companies offering to sell your timeshare. According to Timeshare Specialists, a couple in Washington received a call from a company offering to sell their timeshare. Sounds legit so far, right? Then the caller asks you to wire money for legal fees they need to pay upfront. Scam! Brokers usually pay legal fees from the money made from the sale of the timeshare.

Foreclosure Rescue

Once a home goes into foreclosure, information about the property becomes a public record. That’s when scammers start working. Watch out for companies calling and offering a loan to rescue you. Sadly, this is a scam to buy your house out from under you for pennies on the dollar. Click here to read up on this scam on the Attorney General of Washington’s website.

You Owe the IRS!

This ongoing scam is still its way around the state. The scam involves callers pretending to be from the IRS and demanding you make an immediate payment to avoid jail time. Even the Caller ID looks like it’s from the IRS so it looks more official. How do you know it’s a scam? First, the IRS will not call you first; they always send an official letter about past due taxes. Secondly, the IRS never ask for your credit or debit card information on the phone. If the caller threatens to call law enforcement, hang up immediately – this is a sure sign it’s a scam.

 

Tips to Avoid Scams

Register with National Do Not Call Registry

Register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry. You can do so online or by calling 1-888-382-1222. That way, you can assume any telemarketing calls that come in after you register are scams, and can hang up without worrying.

Watch Caller ID

Caller ID is great for identifying who’s calling so you can decide from whom you want to take calls. But nowadays, scammers can change the number that shows up on Caller ID. This scam is called “spoofing.” The scammers want you to think you think the call is a legitimate local business so you’ll answer.

Hang Up

Sure it feels rude to just hang up on someone. But once scammers have you on the phone, they’re that much closer to closing a deal that takes money out of your pockets and puts it there own. Don’t be afraid to hang up. Then, block the caller’s number, if possible.

 

Report the Scam

If you’ve been the victim of a scam or want to report one, visit Access Washington’s website. Select the type of scam you’re concerned about, and then click the category to get detailed information on how to report it. If you’ve been the victim of a scammer pretending to be with the IRS, file a complaint with the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

File a Complaint

If you’ve already been the victim of a telemarketing scam, find out how to file a complaint with the Washington State Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Agency. You can file a complaint online or by mail. You can also call and talk to someone about what happened.

 

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