Sometimes a scam is blatant. A fake company calls or emails and tries to gain financial information. In those cases, it’s easy to hang up or just delete. Other times, the scam is harder to uncover. It could be someone pretending to be a company that we do business with. It could be an online relationship that started innocently. That so called “romance-scam” consists of the trusting, innocent person being persuaded into wiring funds, giving out credit card or bank information or purchasing gift cards for the other party repeatedly. Another scam is perpetrated under the guise of a loved one needing help. A person calls stating a loved one is in jail, and they need your banking information, so they can pay the fine or bail. Other scams are related to fraudsters bilking people out of gift card information under the guise that they are owing a tax or penalty or to earn a sweepstakes of some kind by paying a fictional “fee”. There are online merchandise scams, money order scams, and many others. The best way to protect yourself is to be weary and trust your gut. If you feel something is off, it’s OK to hang up, or ask for a phone number to call back so you can verify the information. Remember these tips for yourself, and check on the most vulnerable in your family. Consumers that may not be as internet savvy, or that are lonely, can be easy prey for fraudsters.