Keywords of Con Artists

Your Better Business Bureau has reported on a variety of scams this winter, including the one-ring scam, tech support scam, utility bill scams, and the funeral home notice scam. Combined with BBB’s Top Ten Scams of 2013, how is a consumer able to keep all of this information straight?

Better Business Bureaus across the country track potential scams that are reported by businesses and consumers. BBBs keep tabs on new scams that are widespread, along with recurring scams by con artists that have a new twist. The resulting information is then distributed to the public and media outlets to help consumers learn to identify and prevent con artists from cashing in on more victims.

The types of fraud attempts and scams that con artists utilize constantly changes. However, BBB recognizes certain patterns and keywords that are generally used within the makeup of many scam attempts.

The following keywords and phrases should set off a red flag when unsolicited correspondence from a person or business is received regarding an exchange of money:

  • “Load money onto a Green Dot MoneyPak card or prepaid money card and call back with the card information.”

  • “Wire transfer a portion of the money and keep the rest.”

  • “Payment is needed today…or else.” (sense of urgency, high-pressure sales tactics, threats)

  • “Free, if you PAY shipping/processing fees IN ADVANCE.”

  • “Click this link to claim your prize/money.”

  • “Just verify your identity/account number to unfreeze your account.”

Anytime you are being asked to provide funds immediately, stop and ask questions. A legitimate company will understand your hesitance. Take time to authenticate the request. Ask for contact information, including a phone number and physical address from the person/company and do some additional research. Double-checking whether an organization, business or individual is legitimate could save you thousands of dollars. To research a company’s phone number, address or business name, visit or give us a call.

For more information or to report a scam, visit BBB’s Scam Stopper website.

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