Scammers work hard to make you believe that you've won something or you have an unexpected problem. Here are the top 10 imposter scams as reported to the Federal Trade Commission in 2014:
IRS Scams - Fake IRS agents try to scare you into thinking you owe back taxes, etc. When in doubt, contact the IRS. Do not take the potential scammer's word for it.
Prizes - Calls saying you won a prize and only need to pay a small processing fee. Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...a scammer. Especially if you did not register for the prize in question.
Microsoft Tech Support - Tech support calls claiming there is dangerous software popping up and request a fee to fix. No software company would do this, so hang up immediately. If you do in fact have a tech issue, call support directly.
Fake FBI - A fake FBI agent contacts you with a supposedly legitimate prince that wants help moving money out of his country. The FBI would never do this, so hang up immediately or delete the email. Never help someone you do not know 'move money' around via your personal finances.
Kidnapped Computers - A malicious link in an email will lock you out of your files. Attackers demand a ransom for the password. Never click on links from unknown sources, or open attachments.
Medicare Sham - A fake government representative with Medicare or another agency threatens your medical benefits to get personal information or fees. Legit entities would never do this, so hang up immediately or delete the email.
Homeland Security - Threats to immigrants with deportation notices, offering for a charge to certify their immigration status. Homeland Security would never do this, so hang up immediately or delete the email.
"Federal" Agency - You've won a grant for thousands of dollars! You just need to pay the "taxes." Remember if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...a scammer. Especially if you did not register for the grant in question.
"Professional" Help - The con artist will try to convince you that your computer is on the fritz. They will try to convince you that your computer has a serious and urgent technical problem. No legit company would do this, so hang up immediately or delete the email. If you do in fact have a tech issue, call for support directly.
Caller ID - An emerging imposter scam involves misusing caller ID. They make it seem that the caller ID number is your telephone number, to get you to pick up the call. Do not answer the call. However if you do, remember the aforementioned tips.