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By Barbara EJ Bennett, Chief Scambuster | Larimer County Sheriff’s Office
What tactics does a scammer use?
Scammers do not want you to be in your “logical thinking and rational reasoning’ mode. They want to tap into your emotions. Here are some of their tactics –
Excitement, offering a free trial, free product, or service, monetary gain, lucrative investment opportunities, deposit this check, and give me the overage.
Fear your account has been compromised, threats of arrest or lawsuits, the grandchild is in trouble, subscription or purchase in your name.
Urgency First 100 can claim one. You have 24 hours to recover your account, your electricity will be turned off in 30 minutes, and law enforcement will be on their way to arrest you.
Trust Establishes legitimacy through fake reviews, recommendations, social media sites, fake websites, “I have made a lot of money through this investment,” fake profiles for online dating sites, and authority figures (law enforcement), “this crypto investment is solid.”
Need for companionship
Online profiles of people reaching out for companionship. Scammer “grooms” you and gains your trust to get money/personal information from you.
Limited supply Act fast – not many are available. This is a one-day offer.
Authority Respect for law and authority, credibility associated with law enforcement, government officials, and others in positions of authority.
REMEMBER: If you are reacting to an email, phone call, text, or social media offering and feel any of these feelings/emotions – please do NOT act as if it is probably a scam. Scammers want you to be compliant and reacting with emotion so you will give them what they want.
How do scammers get paid?
Scammers will only use the following for payments due to the lack of buyer protection, inability to stop payment, and payment can’t be tracked back to the scammer.
- Cash apps
- Money or gift cards
- Wire transfer
- Fake check for you to deposit and refund some of the money to the scammer
We all want to support our local businesses, and that’s a good thing. Most of our local businesses strive to give you great products and services. We have had reports of a few local businesses, however, either not providing the product or service they were contracted to do or not providing a refund in the case of them not delivering.
Here are a few tips to hopefully prevent these isolated incidents from happening to you.
- Always check references of actual clients and BBB for any possible issues with the business
- Always pay with credit cards (not debit, Venmo, Zelle, cash apps, wire transfer, cash, money card or cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Only credit cards or PayPal have buyer protection.)
Never pay in full before you receive the product
- Be suspicious if the delivery date keeps creeping out with excuses
- Take pictures of any problems with the product or service (i.e., quality of product, not what was promised)
- Document your interactions with the business
- Read your contract carefully for refund policies
Please remember these tips to help protect you from scammers:
- Never click on links or call the number in an email, text message or voicemail.
- Never give personal info over the phone
- Never pay by cash apps, bitcoin, money/gift cards, etc. (Always use credit cards or PayPal for buyer protection)
- “Buyer beware” on sponsored ads on Facebook –
- Never pay for something prior to receiving it on Craigslist/Marketplace or other venue
- Never accept an offer over what you are asking
- Let your calls go to voicemail
- Change your passwords frequently
For more information, visit larimer.org or call Barbara at 970-682-0597.