More consumers reported fraud in Nevada than any other state in 2019, according to the Federal Trade Commission, and impostor scams were the most common type of fraud reported in the state.
“Impostors do not discriminate,” Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford said in a statement Tuesday highlighting the most common impostor scams targeting Nevadans.
“They have developed sophisticated strategies to target all demographics, whether it’s our seniors, business owners, military families or youth. While they are often after your money, they may equally be interested in your personal information or property. All Nevadans should be alert when talking to someone they do not personally know.”
One common scam targets grandparents with grandchildren. Impostors pose as a grandchild claiming they have been arrested and need bail money.
Another scam involves impostors targeting business owners. Scammers will call a business to verify an address or offer a free catalog, then weeks later, unordered merchandise arrives before the impostor calls again to demand payment of supplies that were never ordered.
The business owner may have trouble recalling the details of their first conversation, especially when the impostor is making aggressive demands or threatening legal action.
According to Ford’s office, recently discharged military veterans can be the victims of employment scams. Scammers will impersonate a potential employer luring veterans into an interview and instructing them to purchase work equipment through a website they operate, with the promise of reimbursement. However, the equipment never arrives and the reimbursement check bounces.
Young people are also targeted by scammers. Impostors will offer free or discounted merchandise, as well as college scholarships on various social media platforms, obtaining personal information that might be used to open credit accounts in the victim’s name.
Tips to avoid the scams include:
- Never volunteer any personal information to someone you do not personally know;
- Be suspicious if the person contacting you resists your request to meet in person before making a decision;
- Don’t be afraid to end the conversation, especially if the conversation creates a sense of urgency. Impostors count on scare tactics to persuade you to act without thinking. If the person contacting you is legitimate, then they will likely contact you again.
- If someone is contacting you about an existing account, ask them to verify details about your account, such as your account number and the dates and amounts of recent payments;
- Avoiding using a prepaid debit card or gift card to send money to someone you do not know.