Whether it’s an email from an overseas prince asking you to wire cash, or an unsolicited phone call from someone asking for identifiable information, scams are a familiar concern that can cause an unsuspecting victim financial harm and heartache.

Protect yourself and your loved ones from telephone, email, mail or other types of scams by questioning the conversation. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum offers six signs that an offer might be a scam.

Scammers Contact You “Out of the Blue.”

It could be a knock on the door, a phone call, or a piece of mail you weren’t suspecting. If you don’t owe the IRS or a debt collection agency money but they called to claim you could be in trouble if you don’t pay, it could be a scam.

Scammers Claim There is an “Emergency.”

A scam might warn that if you don’t respond immediately, your prize winnings will be lost, or that a relative or friend is in trouble in a foreign country. If something prompts immediate action, be cautious.

Scammers Ask for Your Personal Information.

Scammers often pose as banks, health care providers and government officials asking for identifying personal or financial information. Anytime someone asks you for this information, be suspicious.

Scammers Want You to Wire Money.

You may be asked to wire money or purchase pre-paid debit cards. This the easiest way for scam artists to get their hands on your money, and it’s nearly impossible to get it back once it’s sent.

Scammers Tell You to “Keep it Secret.”

By asking you to keep a transaction secret, scammers know you won’t have to respond to questions from family and friends who might see through the scam. Check with someone you trust before acting.

Scammers Make it Sound Too Good to be True.

If it seems too good to be true it probably is. Above all, use this simple mantra to help you detect and avoid scams. It’s always better to be cautious than to be a victim.

For more information or to file a complaint, contact the Oregon Department of Justice online at www.oregonconsumer.gov, or call 1-877-877-9392.