You likely often receive scam texts, emails or phone calls from fraudsters trying to steal your money using their latest scheme. In fact, consumers are losing billions of dollars to scams every year. But now there’s some insight into why people fall for scams.

Here are a few things to consider when it comes to determining the likelihood that you’ll fall for a scam.

Like countless other people, Alex Underwood lost his job during the pandemic.

“I didn’t know how I was going to pay rent,” said Underwood. “I was so strapped for cash. I had maybe $600 to my name total.”

But finally, some good news.

A recruiter reached out about a job Underwood had applied for online. After a 45 minute virtual interview, Underwood landed the job — $35 an hour plus a signing bonus.

“It was a godsend, it was a miracle,” said Underwood.

Underwood’s new employer issued him several checks to deposit at his bank. He then told Underwood to pay specific people, using cash apps, for home office equipment, like a computer and other gear. But days later, those checks Underwood had deposited bounced. He was now overdrawn by nearly $14,000; the scammers swiped it all.

“I was just shell shocked, just absolutely shell shocked,” said Underwood. “I had a pit in my stomach. I couldn’t think straight.”

Prof. Marti DeLiema with the University of Minnesota has been studying fraud for years.

“I think that a lot of scams are successful because they hit people at the right time.”…

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