Spring Scams - WSVN-TV - 7NEWS Miami Ft. Lauderdale News, Weather, Deco

Spring Scams

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WSVN -- Leslie Haller found out about the impostor scam the hard way.

Leslie Haller: "I get this e-mail from a friend in Boston that says we were on vacation in London and I hate to ask you this but we were mugged, and we need $2,000."

Her "friend" asked her to wire the money right away. What Leslie didn't know was that scammers had hacked into her friend's e-mail account and sent the same message to everyone.

Erica Sandberg: "It's all about sending money, sending cash because once somebody picks up the cash it's really hard to get it back."

Last year, the Federal Trade Commission got more than $700,000 fraud complaints on scams like this one.

The impostor scam can also be a panicked phone call popular during spring break when college kids are traveling.

Erica Sandberg: "They disguise the voice so a lot of times they'll say they've been in a car accident and my nose has been broken that's why I sound so strange."

Scammers put the pressure on to act right away so you'll send money without checking out their story

Erica Sandberg: "It's so important for everyone to be on their toes."

The experts say if you get a panicked call or an e-mail asking for money, call your loved one back at their personal phone number to verify that's it's really them calling. If you're suspicious, contact police or Western Union.

Leslie got lucky, a Western Union agent called her with a warning.

Leslie Haller: "He said 'Well would you mind just calling their home in Boston.' So I hung up and I called Boston and they answered the phone."

The agent stopped payment and Leslie got back her $2,000.

Erica Sandberg: "There are new ways of getting you to part with your cash all the time so it's really a matter of vigilance."

LYNN MARTINEZ: "Last year alone, victims lost 1.7 billion dollars to scammers. You can learn more about popular scams on our website. And if you have story ideas for Money Monday, email us at moneymonday@wsvn.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Federal Trade Commission: Spotting an Impostorhttp://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt111.shtm

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