Skip nav to main content.
Zing Logo and Homepage Link
Zing Logo
Zing Logo

Scam & Fraud Protection Guide

In this scam and fraud guide you can learn about the common types of scams, the how to protect you and your loved ones from being scammed, and key signs you to should look out for.



Modern technology provides numerous convenient means for staying connected with loved ones and organizing our routines: from phone calls and emails to social media and more. However, it also exposes us to persistent attempts by scammers to deceive us, aiming to obtain our money, sensitive information, or even our identities. Consequently, it’s not uncommon to feel apprehensive about answering calls or checking emails due to the constant threat posed by these scams.

Federal Trade Commission data show that consumers reported losing more than $10 billion to fraud in 2023.

According to, financial scams are among the most common crimes affecting U.S. adults in 2023, with 15% saying at least one member of their household has fallen prey, including 8% reporting that it has happened to themselves personally. Scams in America are the second highest crime worry.

Common Scams

Romance Scams

A romance scam occurs when someone deceives you into believing they have genuine romantic intentions, but their true aim is to exploit you financially. These scams typically initiate through various online channels. The scammer might invest time in building a connection with you, gaining your trust, and making the relationship seem authentic before eventually requesting money, a loan, or access to your financial resources.

How to avoid this scam: Exercise caution when establishing connections and disclosing personal details online, through text messages, or on social media platforms. Refrain from sending money or divulging sensitive information like bank account or credit card numbers, as well as your Social Security number, to someone you’ve recently met romantically.

Grandparent Scams

If you receive a call purportedly from a family member, claiming they urgently need money wired or sent via gift cards to resolve a supposed crisis (like being jailed), exercise caution—it might be a scam. With advancements in artificial intelligence, scammers can mimic voices and manipulate images to simulate familiarity. This tactic preys on emotions and is frequently deployed against older adults, particularly during festive seasons.

How to avoid this scam: Be wary if the caller stresses secrecy, and independently contact your relative to authenticate the situation. If you can’t reach them directly, attempt to verify the circumstances through another trusted individual, such as another family member or their friends.

Credit Union or Banking Scams

If you receive a call or email supposedly from your credit union or bank, requesting personal or account information urgently to resolve an issue, proceed with caution—it could be a scam. Scammers often use sophisticated techniques to mimic official communication from banks, creating a sense of urgency to prompt you into disclosing sensitive information.  This includes masking the phone number the call or text is coming from, altering the email address a correspondence is sent from, and using common language or greetings to seem legitimate.

How to avoid this scam: Never provide personal or account information (including usernames, passwords and multi-factor authentication codes) over the phone or via email unless you initiated the contact. Instead, independently verify the legitimacy of the request by contacting your institution directly through a trusted phone number or visiting their official website.

Credit Card Scams

Beware of calls or messages claiming to be from your credit card company, asking you to verify your card details or make immediate payments to prevent account suspension or fraudulent activity. Scammers may use fear tactics or promise false rewards to trick you into divulging sensitive information.

How to avoid this scam: Do not provide credit card information or make payments in response to unsolicited requests. Contact your credit card company using the phone number on the back of your card or their official website to verify the legitimacy of the communication.

Online Banking Scams

If you receive an email or text message prompting you to click on a link to log in to your online banking account due to suspicious activity or an urgent update, exercise caution—it could be a phishing attempt. Scammers often create fake websites that mimic legitimate banking portals to steal your login credentials and access your accounts.

How to avoid this scam: Never click on links in unsolicited emails or text messages, especially those requesting login credentials or personal information. Instead, manually type the URL of your bank’s website into your browser or use a bookmarked link to access your online banking account directly.

Mail Carrier Scams (UPS, Fedex, and USPS)

Have you heard about the smishing scam in which the scammers pose as USPS? Just like all the rest, they’ll steal your identity and as much of your money as they can grab. Your phone pings with an incoming text, you swipe to open to find a message from the USPS and there’s a text to let you know that the scheduled delivery time of your package has been changed. Unfortunately, though, the message is not from the USPS and you’ve just been targeted by a scam.

How to avoid this scam: Verify the sender. Confirm the identity of the message sender by checking with the USPS if you actually have a delivery schedule change. Don’t call the number on the text instead, reach out to your local USPS office directly. Don’t reply or click on links. Replying to the message or downloading an embedded link can install malware onto your phone. Delete the message and block the number.

Survey Scam

Survey scams are almost as old as the internet. They’re so prevalent, you can hardly spend an hour online without running into an ad for a “super quick” survey promising a reward for just a few minutes of your time. What actually happens, though, is that the scammer walks away with a free survey, or worse, your information andor your money. The alert consumer can spot a survey scam easily, but fraudsters are unfortunately becoming more sophisticated at luring innocent victims into their schemes. They use the bogus surveys as bait so you will share your email address. Once they have this information, they’ll use it to spam you with scam emails, phishing schemes, malware or worse. Alternatively, they’ll sell your email address to another scam ring to be used for similar purposes.

How to avoid this scam: Authentic survey companies need you – you don’t need them. If a survey company asks for anything more than basic information from you, sign out as quickly as you can. If a survey is offering you $100 for a 20-question survey that shouldn’t take you more than five minutes to complete, you can be sure you’re looking at a scam. No legitimate survey company is that desperate. The pay for authentic survey-taking is generally on a much more modest scale. Any time an unknown contact asks you to download attachments to your device, be super-suspicious. More often than not, these are scams and the attachments are loaded with malware.


Keep Your Information Safe

Staying safe from scams is vital in today’s digital age. With scammers constantly evolving their tactics, it’s crucial to educate yourself, recognize warning signs, and secure your personal information. By staying vigilant and skeptical, you can protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim to fraud, ensuring your finances and privacy remain secure in an interconnected world.

Bonus Tips for Staying Safe from Scams

Be Skeptical

Always approach unexpected offers, requests, or messages with skepticism. If something seems too good to be true or doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts.

Verify Sources

Before providing personal or financial information, verify the identity of the person or organization contacting you.

Secure your passwords

Use strong, unique passwords for your online accounts. Avoid using easily guessable information like birthdays or common words.

Stay up-to-date

Keep yourself informed about common scams and tactics used by scammers. Stay updated on the latest scams reported in your area or online, and educate yourself on how to recognize and avoid them.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Whenever possible, enable two-factor authentication for your online accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your phone, in addition to your password.