As diligent as many of us are, it's not impossible to fall victim to an online scam.

Earlier this week (March 12th), the Cedar Rapids Police Department made a post on Facebook warning Iowans of online scams that lost a couple of residents a LOT of money. There were two recent victims: one that lost $50,000, and another who lost $34,500.

According to the post, the Cedar Rapids Police Department does their best to "investigate and prosecute these cases," but the very best way to combat these scammers is to stop and think before you act. The CRPD says "these scams prey upon your fears and force you to act quickly to avoid prosecution..."

The Federal Trade Commission lists several ways you can spot a scam, whether its online or over the phone. One of those signs is exactly what the CRPD warned of, which is the pressure to act immediately. The article reads:

"Scammers want you to act before you have time to think. If you’re on the phone, they might tell you not to hang up so you can’t check out their story. They might threaten to arrest you, sue you, take away your driver’s or business license, or deport you. They might say your computer is about to be corrupted."

Another huge sign that you're being scammed is being asked to pay for something in an usual way. Cryptocurrency, payment apps, and gift cards are some of the most common requests, but sometimes scammers will straight up ask you for a bank account number or send you a check and ask that you deposit it and send the money back to them. DON'T DO IT.

The FTC notes that legitimate organizations won’t call, email, or text to ask for your personal information. But, if you're concerned that the request is real, you should still double check before you act. The FTC recommends contacting the organization through a trustworthy website or looking up the official phone number. NEVER trust the phone number they give you or the number from your caller ID, because those can be manipulated.

If you're the victim of a scam, be sure to report it to local law enforcement and the FTC HERE. Stay safe!

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