North Carolina residents are no strangers to the constant barrage of phone calls and e-mails from fraudsters seeking to steal their money. In 2015 alone, the Department of Justice received over 65,000 complaints from Carolina consumers who reported these scams. The consumer protection lawyers at Weaver, Bennett & Bland, P.A. put together a short list of the most popular schemes in the state, so you can protect your loved ones this fall.
One of the most common types of scams in NC involves lottery and sweepstakes winnings. Typically, victims receive a check in the mail from a widely recognizable corporation or foreign government, with a congratulatory letter. After depositing the check, victims usually receive a call from a “lottery office,” where the caller will say that taxes or other fees are owed on the winnings immediately. The caller will ask the victim to wire a portion of the winnings to cover these costs. Only after making this transfer do victims find out from their bank that the lottery check was fake, and the money paid out came from the victim’s own bank funds. If you receive an unsolicited letter or phone call about lottery winnings, know that it’s probably a scam.
Another widespread threat to consumers throughout NC involves fake debt collection calls. Typically, a caller will inform his victim of a large past-due debt, offering to settle the matter the same day for a portion of the supposed debt owed. The caller often threatens to file an embarrassing lawsuit, or states that he’ll send law enforcement to the victim’s home, their place of employment, or otherwise notify the victim’s family and friends of the debt. If you receive a call like this, demand that the caller sends you written proof of the debt owed, including all relevant loan origination documents. If you don’t receive this documentation, the debt is likely fake.
The third and final popular scam in NC involves identity theft. Typically, victims receive a call or an e-mail appearing to be from their bank. The message will either include an automated phone prompt or a fake webpage asking the victim for their bank account number, username, password, etc. Fraudsters then use this information to clean out the victim’s accounts. Typically, banks don’t make unsolicited calls or send out e-mails requesting account information. If you believe you’ve become victim to a consumer scam, contact the experienced consumer protection attorneys at Weaver, Bennett & Bland, P.A. to discuss your situation.