COLORADO SPRINGS - Scamming money out of people is a lucrative business for fraudsters, and they're using all platforms to do it.
Reports of the classic “click and bait scams” are on the rise.
They aim to entice people to click on a link, fill out their phone number, email address, and birthday for a "free stay."
They sound legitimate enough to fool people into giving out their credit card information.
"When I went to the bank, I found $900 worth of unauthorized charges," said Sandy Sutton, who is a victim of a Facebook scam.
So, why are scammers so successful?
They're constantly changing their tactics and using the 'old tricks' paired with new technology.
“People who run scams do it for a business, and they don't stop. It’s constant," said Detective Jon Price with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
Fraud departments across the country now say a scammer’s job has never been easier.
This is because hackers have so many choices on how they plan to sneak into our lives with computers, which opens doors to emails, Facebook, websites, phones, apps, and the list never ends.
Think about if you're at a coffee shop, you notice they don't have wifi. So you go to your bar and notice another wifi account you can buy. You enter your credit card information, but it doesn't work. Well, it will never work, and scammers just sold your credit card information to 15 different people.
The reality: scams can happen anywhere, anytime.
"Within 2 hours, I was getting two or three calls from out of state areas," said Paul Ferrentino, another internet scam victim.
Whether it's in an email, a pop-up ad, a phone call or even a Facebook post, their methods are simple and sometimes obvious.
"Literally saying, just give us your account number," said Kim Wolinski, email scam victim.
Other times, persistence or scare tactics do the trick.
"That's how they're successful. They sit there and scare. They prey on young people or elderly people,” explained Jennifer Sentman, phone scam victim.
One thing is certain, their techniques are constantly evolving, and they're never done.
What can you do to protect yourself?
1. Email Scams: If you receive an email that is threatening or fraudulent, report it to your local police or sheriff's department.
2. Pop-up Scams: Report these messages directly to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Bank Scams: Report immediately to the Internet Crime Complaint Center
4. Arrest Warrant Scams impersonating a law enforcement officer: report it immediately to the El Paso County Sheriff's Department or the city's Fraud Prevention and Detection Policy Division.
5. If you get a "scam" email you can create a spam folder in your email to store all of them. Or you can also go to your settings and automatically block future emails from that account.
Top scams affecting Southern Colorado
Data from the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado