A. Listen to a radio show about scams. How much money did Tara, Max, and Zeke each lose? What’s the most important advice the radio show gives?

B. Listen again. Fill in the blanks in the summary of each scam with one or two words.

Tara got an 1__________ from a family member who was in South Africa. He said he’d lost his 2__________ and needed money to get home. He asked her to send him her 3__________ number.

Max got an email that said he’d won a lot of 4__________ in the Mega Millions lottery. He 5__________ it because he had bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket in the fall. They told him to send his 6__________ details so they could send him the money.

Zeke got a 7__________ from a woman who said she was from his 8__________. She said the bank wanted to verify his credit card 9__________. She was very polite, so he gave her all his credit card 10__________.



Tara lost over $3,000. Max lost about $300. Zeke didn’t lose any money.

Never give your bank account or credit card details to anybody, either in an email or on the phone.


1 email   2 backpack   3 credit card   4 money   5 believed

6 bank   7 phone call   8 bank   9 number   10 information


H = Host, T = Tara, M = Max, Z = Zeke

H   Hello, and welcome to Five-Minute Money. Today we’re talking about scams and scammers. Millions of people a year are victims of scams in the US. In 2017, Americans lost $905 million because of scams, so we all need to know what to look out for. We’re going to hear three listeners’ stories, and for each scam, we’ll explain how to stay safe.

Our first story is from Tara in Knoxville.

T   A few months ago, I got an email from my cousin who was studying abroad in South Africa. He said he’d lost his backpack with his ID and credit cards and needed money to get home. He asked for my credit card number, and I was like, well, it’s my cousin, I have to help him! So, I sent him a reply with my credit card number and everything. But there was no reply. So, I got suspicious, and I checked my credit card balance, and somebody had stolen over $3,000. Of course, I never got it back.

H   Ah, the friend (or family member) abroad who needs help. But it isn’t really a friend: it’s a scammer who is using this friend’s email account. Often this scam is obvious, either because you know your friend isn’t abroad, or because the email has grammar and spelling mistakes. So always be suspicious of any strange emails from friends. The next story is from Max in Madison.

M   I got an email saying that I’d won a lot of money in the Mega Millions lottery. It looked official, and it was from “The Mega Millions Corporation,” so I thought it was real. I did buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket last fall when the jackpot was close to $1 billion dollars, so I believed it. I emailed back and they replied and said the easiest thing was for me to send them my bank details, and they’d pay the money directly into my account. So, like an idiot, I did, and the next day my bank account was completely empty. Thank goodness my account only had three hundred dollars in it. I feel so stupid, but I definitely learned my lesson.

H   Yes, so again, never believe an email or message saying you’ve won a lottery, especially if you’ve never bought a ticket. Our last story is from Zeke in Hartford.

Z   It was a Saturday morning and I’d just gotten back from the gym. The phone rang and a woman said she was from Citibank’s security division. She said the bank was conducting its regular account verification process and that I needed to verify my credit card number and some other information. I thought it was weird that the bank was calling on a Saturday morning, but she was so nice and polite, so I gave her all my credit card information. A few days later, I tried to use my credit card and it was declined. I called the Citibank customer hotline and the bank representative said that my credit card was deactivated because of suspicious charges. The representative told me that Citibank never calls its customers to verify credit card information. Thank goodness I wasn’t responsible for any of the suspicious charges, so I didn’t lose any money.

H   It’s natural to cooperate if you think your bank is calling you, but your bank will never ask you on the phone to verify your account details. If you get suspicious, just hang up, wait ten minutes, then call your bank to check if it really was them. So, what’s the most important thing to remember if you don’t want to be the victim of a scam? Be very suspicious of strange emails from friends or from someone saying that you’ve won a prize, and the same for phone calls from your bank. And above all, never, never give your bank account or credit card numbers to anybody, either in an email or on the phone, unless you are 100% sure who they really are.

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