Financial Crimes & Scams

Descriptions of some of the most common scams that request wire transfers or the purchase of prepaid debit cards or gift cards are detailed in the following with the Scam Type and Details.

  • IRS Scam: The Internal Revenue Service has demanded immediate payment for back taxes. They threaten an arrest warrant will be issued.
  • Utility Scam: Similar to the IRS scam, except it is a gas or electric company claiming to shut your heat or power off if payment is not made immediately over the phone.
  • Bail Bond Scam (aka Grandparent scam): You have been told a family member has been in an accident or arrested, is in jail and they need you to send money for bail, lawyer fees or other damages. Often, the arrest or accident reportedly happened outside of the country.
  • Kidnapping / Ransom Scam: Similar to the bail bond scam, except that the family member has been kidnapped or held hostage after an accident or some type of property damage.
  • Sweepstakes / Lottery: You won a contest, sweepstakes or lottery and must send money up front to pay the taxes or to claim your prize.
  • Tech Support: You have been told that your computer is broken, hacked or has a virus and you are asked to send money so it can be repaired. Some more advanced ones appear that your computer has been "taken over" by the FBI.
  • Internet Sale or Online Job: You were selling something on the internet, or recently started a "secret shopper" or work from home job and received a check for too much money. You were instructed to deposit the check and wire the extra back.