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How to avoid financial scams

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- A journalist who covers personal finance lost $50,000 dollars in an elaborate scam that started with a phone call. Scam victim, Charlotte Cowles says "It actually showed up as amazon on my caller id. She said that there had been some suspicious activity under my account." Cowles is the cut's financial advice columnist and she thought she had just learned that she was the victim of identity fraud. The person she was speaking to transferred her to someone claiming to be an FTC investigator and later someone who said they were part of the CIA.

Cowles says "he knew my social security number, the last 4 digits he knew my birthday. He knew my address. He knew that I lived with my husband and son. He told me that my identity had been stolen by a criminal organization." The person cowles thought was an investigator described in detail: 22 bank accounts, 9 vehicles, 4 properties, money wired overseas, drugs, and cash and sais it was all linked to her name. He also told her there was a warrant out for her arrest for cyber crimes, money laundering and drug trafficking.

Cowles says "he told me that in order to avoid arrest, I would need to cooperate with their investigation. The thing that made me kept keep going was that they had so much information about my family, and they made it very clear that my family was potentially in great danger." Their directions were don't tell anyone about the investigation, take out $50,000 dollars cash and deliver it to a vehicle that will pull up to your home.

As soon as they had the cash, she says the phone call turned and she knew she had been scammed. Cowles says "Oh, my god. What have I done? I can't believe this has happened." Cowles is the growing face of who these scammers target: younger adults. Expert, Rich frankel says "the scammers have gotten much, much more believable over time, there is no way that a member of law enforcement is going to legitimately be asking you to forward them money in any manner." And according to a recent report from the FTC 18 to 59 year olds are 34% more likely to be scammed than those over 60. So make sure you pay attention to the red flags to avoid being financially scammed. 

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Gabby Hernandez


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