My Mom is forever asking me questions about payment scams she reads about so I thought I would share a few of the latest cash scams you should be cautious. If someone calls or text you looking for money with one of these, I'd be concerned and take some extra time to make sure it's a legitimate request. Remember the IRS or other government agency would never do any of these.
There are many Money Transfer Apps like Zella, Venmo, Apple and even Pay Pal that enable you to easily transfer cash between your account and someone else's. The intent is for you to easily transfer money to someone you know, not a stranger. I frequently use Venmo to send and receive money with my kids. I've also used it for some of my photography clients. If a stranger or scammer contacts you and wants you to transfer money using a money transfer app, I'd avoid it. Typically these services offer now protection and once you transfer you money, it's gone. So stick to money transfers this way with people you know.
Wire Transfers have been around forever. Back in the day Western Union was used to transfer money anywhere in the world. Guess what, scammers love wire transfers. Again once the money leaves your hands and is wired with MoneyGram or Western Unition, there is very little recourse to get it back. So if you one a sweep stakes or someone asks for wired funds, you should probably avoid the temptation.
Another popular tool is Store Gift Cards. A scammer will ask you to go purchase $100's in Store Gift Card from say Home Depot or Target and then call them back with the card number and PIN. Again your money is now gone with now way to retrieve it. So be leery of text or phone calls from what may seem like a legitimate organization if they are looking for card payments.
All the rage these days, Cryptocurrency. Again used by scammers because it's untraceable. Once you buy and transfer Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency and transfer it to the scammer, it's gone forever.
When shopping online or stick with credit cards, they all have fraud prevention and will work to get your funds back into your account. For payments to legitimate government agencies or other payments, also consider using a check. Again there are protected ways to get these funds back should you have made a mistake.
<-- Money Page for more information on scams.