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Common Impostor Scams
Computer tech/repair scams –
You get a call while surfing the web from someone posing as a tech for Microsoft, Apple or other-well known company. The tech says your computer is running slow and asks for remote access. The bogus company charges you to install antivirus programs available for free online. Some scams start with pop-up windows warning you have a virus.
Classic Nigerian scams –
Someone contacts you from overseas, offering to split the profit with you if you help them move money or highly valuable goods to the U.S. Even though they have the “treasure,” they tell you that you’re the one who must pay. Often the sender pretends to be foreign royalty, a minister or missionary, or a member of the U.S. military stationed abroad.
Romance scams –
Someone who claims to be an American working overseas contacts you through a dating or social media site and strikes up a whirlwind romance. Scammers often use the identities and photos of Americans, particularly U.S. military members. Once you’re smitten, your sweetheart begins asking for gifts or money to buy air tickets or cope with an emergency.
You get notice that you’ve won a sweepstakes or lottery but you have to pay “taxes,” “customs charges,” or other bogus fees before you can collect your winnings. You may receive a partial winnings check to cover the fees – but don’t deposit it. The check is counterfeit – and you’ll owe the bank any funds you forwarded.
Friend/family/grandparent scams –
Someone pretending to be a relative (usually a grandchild) calls, claiming to have been in a car accident and in need of money to avoid jail or pay for care for injured accident victims. Alternatively, scammers hack a Facebook friend’s account and request gift cards to help them deal with an emergency.
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The Department of Consumer Affairs’ mission is to make sure people who live or shop in Cuyahoga County get what they pay for.