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How to Spot a Sneaky Savvy Scammer?

Here’s a story from Joseph A. Zarlengo, Partner at Lawrence Kamin, about a savvy scammer who tried to trick him. 

“I was just involved in a potential scam. I received a telephone call from somebody saying they were with Comcast and they had a promotional offer for me. Essentially the offer was they would reduce my monthly payment in half if I pre-pay six months of the reduced payment with a Target gift card. They said it was a promotion sponsored by Target to get people to use their gift cards. Sounded fishy throughout, but the odd thing was they knew the last four digits of my account number and also knew our last monthly payment. They also said I could only pay today before 9 or Monday because their business offices are closed on Sundays. He then gave me an 800 number to their alleged billing department. I said fine and that I would follow up on Monday. I then Googled whether or not Comcast had a promotion with Target. It is a definite scam, and multiple parties indicated. I also called Comcast, and they verified that they have no promotion at Target. The bottom line is when anybody wants to be prepaid or receive payment with gift cards, it is 99.99% of the time going to be a scam.”


Tips from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 

Several signs indicate you might be dealing with a scammer. 

They include contact from someone: 

  • Calling or emailing you, claiming to be from the government, and asking you to pay money. 
  • Asking you to pay money or taxes upfront to receive a prize or a gift. 
  • Asking you to wire them money, send money by courier, or put money on a prepaid card or gift card and send it to them. 
  • Asking for access to your money-such as your ATM cards, bank accounts, credit cards, or investment accounts. 
  • Pressuring you to “act now” or the deal will go away. Or someone who seems to be trying hard to give you a “great deal” without time to answer your questions. 


Lawrence Kamin is here to help, advise, and protect you and your business from scams. Here are some more of our examples:

  • Requests to make transfers from emails you know, which turn out to be hacked or impersonating email addresses 
  • Invoice payment links to what seems like a familiar source when it’s actually to a scammer, also known as cyber extortion. 
  • Pretending to be an interested customer (extreme eagerness and asking you to use a specific payment is a sign) 
  • Scammers claiming to be a relative in need (i.e., this is grandson, [name], I need some money sent because I’m traveling and my wallet was stolen) 
  • “I had a client we saved from being scammed into a cannabis investment. He came to us to review the contract, and we spotted it.” 

Call Lawrence Kamin to review your cyber insurance documents to protect yourself.

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