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Top five scams targeting Nebraskans

Every day con-artists find unique ways to scam good people out of their identity and hard earned money.

"They're always looking at ways to get important financial information which is social security numbers and date of birth,” said Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson.

Each year thousands of Nebraskans fall victim to scams. As a result people lose anywhere from a few dollars to most of their savings.

These con artists usually pretend to be someone they're not and many are very good at what they do.

The Attorney General said it's important to be aware of these scams so you don't fall for them too.

"The scammers are not amateur, they're very good at what they do,” Peterson said.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, there are five top scams in Nebraska you need to be aware of.

Impostor Scams

Number one at the top of the list are impostor scams. This is when scammers pretend to be someone they're not in order to make you believe that their story is true.

Under this category falls the popular grandparent scam that many in Nebraska have fallen for.

"Call to an elderly person referring to them as grandma, grandpa, you've got to send money. That one is a pretty common one," Peterson said.

Debt Collection

Number two on the list for most common scams is debt collection.

Scam artists pose as debt collectors in order to take your money. They may harass or threaten you in order to collect interest, fees or other charges in addition to the amount of debt you owe.

"And what people need to realize is that once that money is sent, it's gone forever, you're never going to get any of this back," said Officer Butch Hurst from the Grand Island Police Department.

Phone Scams

Number three on the list is telephone and mobile services. This can happen when someone calls you posing as your phone company, steals your personal information and opens a cell phone account in your name. They can rack up huge bills that end up landing in your mailbox.

"So when you engage in that conversation you may think you would be able to protect yourself but often times they're smarter than you think. Often times their techniques are very persuasive,” Peterson said.

Prizes, Sweepstakes, Lotteries

Number four is prizes, sweepstakes and lotteries scams.

"We had one lady that won a Mercedes and $five million, again she spent money several times,” Officer Hurst said.

The way this works is you get notified you won an expensive prize or won money in a foreign lottery or contest you did not enter.

In turn, scammers who act like professionals ask you to send money to pay import fees or taxes.

"Anything you send is profit to them because there is no property. That check that they gave you is absolutely worthless,” Officer Hurst said.

Bank and Lender Scams

Finally, on the top five list are banks and lenders scams.

"They say this is the bank and we want to verify that our numbers match yours, so if you can tell me what your bank number is. You just gave them everything they needed," Officer Hurst said.

Under this umbrella also falls the infamous payday loans.

Most of the callers identify themselves as attorneys or representatives for the loan company asking you to pay up.

"One lady they called her on a payday loan that she never paid. So she paid them and said I never had a payday loan. Well why would you pay them," Officer Hurst said.

Most of the time it’s for a loan you don't remember and with technology changing our everyday lives, Nebraska's attorney general says this has certainly changed the way scammers can hide behind a screen and target you at home.

"They plop on your computer screen and says there's been a breach and you need to go to this technical service offered by, for example they may say the Microsoft logo. Well that's not Microsoft that's a scam,” Officer Hurst said.

The attorney general and local law enforcement aim to warn and make people aware of these scams that can target you or your loved ones.

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