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Scammers use different tactics to get victims to fall for their schemes. In some cases, they can be friendly, sympathetic and seem willing to help. In others, they use fear tactics to persuade a victim. Learn about the different scam tactics, and what to do if you suspect suspicious behavior.


Tech Support scam

Tech support claims your computer has malware and requests payment to fix the defects or access your computer.

Impersonation scams

Scammers pose as Capital One or a legitimate company and ask you to provide personal information or transfer money by phone, text or email. They might also use a fake caller ID that could show up as Capital One and/ or request remote access to your device.

Utility scams

Posing as your utility company, you get a text or email with a warning to pay your balance within a limited time or else the utility will be shut off.

Fake Goods

You are presented with a “too good to be true” deal, like $49 for a $300 pair of sneakers. Never transfer money to someone you don’t know.

Fake Rental

A house is legitimately listed for sale online, but scammers have set up a fake website and listed the house as a rental. You send your first month’s deposit to a scammer pretending to be the landlord/owner.

Fake Websites

Legitimate-looking websites are being created by scammers, and a quick Google search will lead you to a real-looking phone number. When you call, they’ll try to obtain your sign-in details or other information.

Overpayment scams

You receive an overpayment for an item you’re selling, immediately followed by a request to deposit the check (which turns out to be a bad check) and then send the difference via a wire or gift card.

Check Cashing

You’re approached outside a bank branch and asked to cash a check for someone who claims they don’t have an account or left their ID home. The bad check will be held against your account when it doesn’t clear. 

Romance scams

If you are asked for financial support from a new partner in a relationship that’s been exclusively online, you’re likely a target of this elaborate scheme.

Charity Scams

You receive a request to donate to a charity that you’ve never heard of and for which you can’t find an official website.

Debt Relief

You receive a request for payment in order to establish a service relationship to pay, settle or get rid of debt.

FTC / IRS scams

Scam artists are pretending to be IRS officials to get your money. They’ll call, email, or text you claiming you owe back taxes or there’s a problem with your tax return. They even rig caller ID to make their call look official. They play on your fears.

Investment scams

You receive a request to invest in a business opportunity with promises of high returns and/or getting rich quickly.

Lottery scams

You receive a request to prepay fees or taxes in order to receive a large prize you supposedly won.

Grandparent scam

You receive a call or text message from someone claiming to be a grandchild or loved one asking for money to help with an emergency, plus instructions on where to send the funds.

Puppy scam

Scammers post fake litters online or pretend to be someone they’re not (usually an existing breeder) to take advantage of puppy sales (sans the puppies.)

Online / Social Media Shopping

You find an amazing deal online but is it too good to be true? Research the seller and products independently and compare prices with other websites to ensure you are on a legitimate shopping site.

Mortgage Closing

You receive an email or text message that looks similar to your real estate agent’s contact info that indicates there is a last-minute change to the wiring instructions and tells you to wire closing costs to a different account.

Business Email Compromise scams

You receive an email from your supplier/vendor requesting to send money to a different account. The supplier/vendor email appears to be familiar. But this could be a fraudster who obtained access to the network of your supplier/vendor.

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