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One of the many things we took for granted, before lockdown changed life as we know it irrevocably, was dating. Whether you were an avid fan of online datingan app super-swiper or preferred meeting your potential matches out in the real world, the pandemic has completely changed how we meet somebody new.

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As a general rule, all scams have similar traits.

Here are some obvious ones that raise red flags in the Consumer Protection Division that you should keep in mind. You are contacted out of the blue.

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Anyone who calls, s, send you a letter, texts or comes to your dooryard out of the blue may not have your best interest at heart. You don't have to respond right away, make a decision or even answer the door. You have to send money up front in order to receive a prize. You haven't won anything if you have to pay for it. You need to send money via wire transfer or a reloadable card. This is frequently the preferred way for scammers to ask for money. Remember, this is just like sending someone Red door dating site - you'll never see it again.

Common consumer scams

You are asked for personal or financial information. Your bank or credit card company will not call and ask to confirm any or personal details they already have on file. Anyone asking for this information out of the blue is trying to scam you. Don't tell anyone. Scammers want to keep you under their spell. If you tell family and Red door dating site, someone may ask dissuade you from interacting with them. If you're asked to keep it a secret, it is a scam. If an offer is really good, it can wait for you to sleep on it and get back to them tomorrow. Too many times though, scams have to be acted on today only.

We advise you to be slow to say yes and quick to say no.

You get a real looking check. If you get a check and are asked to send money back, it's a scam.

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If you really think you've come upon unexpected good fortune, take your check to the bank and ask them to verify whether it is real. This scam preys on people who need money the most and have a hard time obtaining credit by traditional means.

When you're in a financial pinch, this sounds like a good way to get some quick, short-term money that you can make up later. Here's how it works, you get a phone call, or go to a website. The lender offers a loan to help you with your cash flow crunch, but first asks that you send them usually by wire transfer or reloadable card a loan processing fee, which could be hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Like any wire transfer, it is like sending cash, you'll never see the money and you'll definitely never see the "loan" to help you meet your financial obligations. Don't fall for it. In a legitimate loan scenario, the fees are paid after the loan has been approved, not before. We advise consumers to do their homework and make sure the lender Red door dating site dealing with is legitimate and d to help consumers in Maine so you have the necessary consumer protections if something Red door dating site wrong with your loan.

Technology exists that criminals use to make any appear on your caller ID. Sometimes the scammers use your own .

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Always be on the alert that the person you think is calling could be just a way Red door dating site get you to answer the phone. This scam usually begins with an automated phone call. The caller then requests your credit cardsocial security or other personal information. Never give out your credit card, personal or bank information based on an automated phone call.

If you do, you're opening yourself up to become a victim of identity theft. Whether you shop for items via Craigslist or Red door dating site other online swap site, or through the back s of the newspaper or Maine's own Uncle Henry's publication, beware that scammers are everywhere. Fraudsters use the internet and these publications to dupe folks trying to sell their items for cash. You do has instructed, but find out 5 days later the check was a fraud and you owe the bank whatever money you've spent against that check.

Anyone who asks you to wire them money or send back money is scamming you. We suggest if you can't meet the person locally, keep looking for a buyer. Always keep your personal safety in mind. Meet in a public place, not a private home. Many police stations in Maine have deated meeting spaces for this purpose.

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Another version tries to persuade you that your computer has a serious tech problem that needs immediate repair. In both instances the fraudsters want you to give them remote access to your computer. By doing so you give them free reign to your personal information, ability to download malware and spyware onto your computer. To make matters worse they will probably lock your computer and ask for a ransom in order unlock it. If you get this call hang up. If you are contacted via pop up or about these things, delete them. If you're concerned about your computer's safety or running ability, take it to a local tech for assistance.

If you're struggling to make ends meet, there are non-profit credit counseling agencies Red door dating site Maine who can help you figure out a debt relief plan. We discourage you from hiring a company that promises to help you get out of debt for a fraction of the cost and in record time.

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It simply doesn't work that way. Unfortunately, they only make a bad situation worse by taking your money for themselves and not distributing it to your creditors, which will further damage your credit score and may lead to lawsuits against you. Fake check scams typically begin when you're sent a check that looks real, but is actually fake. You're told to deposit the "check" and send a portion of the money back to the scam artist or a third person - usually by wire Red door dating site or a reloadable card.

After you send the money you soon find out the cashed check was fake and you just sent money to a stranger and the bank is draining all of your s to get their money back.

Personal alarms

Do not fall for this one! Someone calls you on the phone indicating that they are from the government and that the government wants to give you a government grant. They just need your bank s to deposit the check.

Recently, many Mainers have encountered this scam via Facebook messenger, where someone they "know" has heard of this grant and wants to share their good fortune with you. Often, the person you know is a spoofed profile of your friend and actually a scammer.

Someone calls claiming to be your grandchild. The scammer claims there has been a mishap and money is needed immediately. Perhaps they claim they are in jail and need bail money, but ask you not to tell their parents in fear of getting in more trouble. Keeping it a secret is always a red flag! Some grandparents have set aside their common sense to come to the rescue of a relative in need, but it is a sham.

Never wire money or give out bank info based on a telephone call. Avoid this scam by verifying the caller's identity and resisting pressure to act before the caller's identity is verified by calling a Red door dating site member who could confirm the caller's story. Try contacting the real grandchild at a you know is accurate. You receive a letter in the mail,or phone call indicating you've won thousands of dollars in a lottery or sweepstakes.

Finally, you think, all of your problems are solved! Unfortunately, they soon ask you to send money to them to cover fees, taxes, legal processing, or some other made up hoop to get you to send them more money. While the cons always have an answer, you'll never see any money.

Don't fall for this too good to be true scam. Other scams come from businesses you've heard of and give the impression if you buy more of their product, you'll have more chances at winning the big prize. Have you ever met anyone who has won the big prize? We Red door dating site either.

It's a scam. Save your money where there are better odds - at the bingo hall.

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You've probably seen the TV ad for a device that you wear and push a button if you've fallen and can't get up. The device calls for help. There are legitimate medical alert devices on the market, but there are also scammers out there attempting to Red door dating site fake devices.

Do your homework, and make sure you are getting a legitimate product. It goes like this - a person calls your home and claims they are from Medicare or a medical provider you may have heard of to tell you that your free medical alert device has been paid for and ready to activate. You only need to provide your personal information like a credit card or social security to complete the setup.

By providing that information, you've given them access to your money and your identity. When anyone calls you out of the blue trying to sell you something, don't wait for them to finish their spiel, just hang up. Do not engage with the callers, doing so only confirms your works, which in more calls.

Never give any personal information to anyone over the phone. More relationships are starting online, and scammers Red door dating site taking advantage of this new medium to make money. The Attorney General's Office urges you to use extreme caution when meeting people online. Criminals make bogus profiles to con people they meet out of hundreds or thousands of dollars. They do this by quickly gaining your trust and tug on your emotions and exploit that trust.

Victims are left embarrassed and in financial distress. But how do you know whether it is a fake profile?