Here are this week’s top five scams

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Paying attention to the red flags can help you avoid them

Medicare open enrollment commercials may have ended for the year but nothing has slowed down Medicare scammers. Social media sites are flooded with reports that people are receiving calls from someone claiming to be from Medicare, offering to replace paper Medicare cards with plastic ones.

For starters, Medicare doesn’t cold-call people. Secondly, Platinum Marketing & Design says it is the only authorized provider of plastic cards and it doesn’t call people either. The scammers’ objective is to steal personal information from their victims.

Utility trailer scam

Craigslist is rife with shady deals and scammers lately have been using it to advertise a utility trailer for sale. The seller poses as a recent widow who needs to sell her late husband’s trailer. She doesn’t need it and has listed it at a cheap price, she says in the ad.

The ad should be instantly recognizable as a scam because the scammer asks to be paid in eBay cards. It goes without saying there is no utility trailer. As long as consumers realize that payment in anything other than cash or check is not on the up and up there should be no victims. 

Fake customer service scam

“Reloading” is when a scammer targets a recent scam victim, offering to help them recover their stolen money. A scam making the rounds now claims to be a customer service rep from Coinbase, saying they can help the victim recover stolen crypto.

Of course, the service isn’t being offered for free so the victim could wind up being a victim again. People in doubt about the legitimacy of such a call – and there is no chance it is legitimate – should hang up and call Coinbase customer service directly.

House-buying scam

Of all the scams we’ve seen this week, this could be the scariest because it is the most believable. It targets people who are about to close on a home purchase.

The victims receive an email, purportedly from the closing agent, telling them the receiving account for closing costs has changed. They’re given new wiring instructions. If they wire the money to the scammer’s account, it’s gone and can’t be retrieved. Homebuyers receiving such an email should directly telephone the closing agent to confirm the message’s authenticity.

Fake ticket scam

StubHub is a legitimate site where people can resell tickets to sporting events or concerts, sometimes at a discount price. It’s easy for scammers to use the site to sell non-existent tickets.

Because it’s a scam, victims may be told to pay for the tickets in an unusual way, which should be a huge red flag. To avoid becoming a victim, be wary of tickets offered at below face value, especially if it’s a highly popular event. Buying tickets directly from the event venue is an even safer way.

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