Scams: Awareness and Techniques to Stay Safe

Scammers might use new technology and recent events, such as AI and student loan forgiveness, to add a twist to tried-and-true scams. Learning about the latest developments will hopefully help TRTA members stay one step ahead.

Scammers may use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to write more convincing and natural-sounding phishing e-mails and text messages. Scammers may create deepfakes of celebrities to trick victims into thinking they’re investing in a good company or project. Scammers may impersonate the victim’s friend or relative and ask for money as part of a grandparent scam. Scammers may impersonate an employer and ask for personal information. AI enables scammers to create images, videos and voices which make the existing scams even more believable!

Scammers know people want to believe their student loans will be forgiven. Scammers may contact individuals by phone or create phony application sites aimed at stealing a social security number or bank account information. Fake urgent messages may encourage an application for debt relief “before it’s too late”. Avoid these scams by going directly to the Department of Education website.

Phone scams may now rely on your smartphone’s capabilities to access the internet and install malware. Robocalls use natural-sounding voices. Impersonators of government entities (IRS, Police, etc.) or of well-known businesses and delivery companies may use scare tactics to get your personal or credit card information. Scammers may try to get you to install malicious apps to steal from you. Scammers may also create QR codes to get you to access a look-alike website. A thief may reassign your telephone to a SIM card in a phone they control. Scammers may use a one-time-password (OTP) bot to trick you into sharing authentication codes.

Text message-based scams are an especially popular type of phone-based scam. Scammers using text messages often impersonate banks, online retailers, delivery companies or government agencies. Often, they indicate that there was suspicious activity in your account. These are smishing attempts to get you to click on a link or call a number. Don’t click or call!

Other current scams include Zelle, a peer-to-peer payment app; Cryptocurrency websites, romance scams, online purchase scams, employment scams and check fraud scams.


Be skeptical when someone contacts you. Scammers can spoof calls and e-mails. Don’t share any information that can enable some to STEAL YOUR IDENTITY.

Don’t-click on unknown links. Call the company or agency using a number you look up on your own to CONFIRM ITS LEGITIMACY.

Be careful with your phone. If you suspect a spam call, the safest option is to hang up or IGNORE THE CALL ENTIRELY.


Enable multifactor authentication, research companies before acting, don’t refund or forward overpayments and look for suspicious payment requirements.

If you fall victim to a scam, REPORT THE SCAM AND SCAMMER ( . Scan your devices with an antivirus scan. Change your passwords. Lock down your credit.

Source: Loius DeNicola, Experian Blog, December 30, 2023.

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