Health, relationships, and money — the trifecta of New Year's resolutions. And wouldn't you know it? Scammers are jockeying for position to win... err... steal your money even before you leave the starting gate.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

They'll use every sneaky tactic to ensure their scheme finishes in first place. But if you know what to look for, you can leave crooks in the dust as you cross the finish line to your New Year's goals.

New Year's Resolution #1: Weight Loss

A flip of the calendar page is often all it takes to mentally break from the past and commit to a new beginning. But the desire to achieve a resolution quickly is a common downfall. Scammers know promises of rapid results with little effort are all it takes to sell their fake weight loss products. Phony testimonials and promises of "miracle" pills and creams entice people to buy these worthless items.

Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Resolve to avoid weight loss scams by:

  • Remaining skeptical of paid celebrity endorsements since they aren't a guarantee that the individual ever used the product or service. Plus, endorsements can be faked using online images and phony statements.

  • Checking out reviews and complaints about the company by searching the Better Business Bureau's database.

BONUS TIP: Seek health and fitness advice from a trusted doctor or qualified nutritionist.

New Year's Resolution #2: Relationships

Everyone wants to be liked, and new relationships can blossom quickly. Fraudsters are ready to fill your need to connect with others, and they'll morph into whatever relationship you desire. Need a friend? They'll pretend to be someone looking to pay it forward by sharing free money sources. Need romance in your life? They'll pretend to be your ideal sweetheart.

These crooks peddle lies and deceit. After they've gained your trust, they'll pursue your financial data — or your cash.

Resolve to avoid relationship scams by:

  • Being suspicious of free money sources sent to you by a new online friend.

  • Ending online romantic relationships that ask for money or personal information.

BONUS TIP: Sidestep these crooks by meeting new people at local in-person gatherings.

New Year's Resolution #3: Money

Saving more money is a top resolution for many households. But it often requires you to earn more income first. So when you learn of a money-making opportunity that pays well and doesn't interfere with your work schedule or lifestyle, it makes sense to ask for more information. But be careful as you navigate online job ads.

Fraudsters use reputable networking and employment sites to lure people to fake websites so they can gather information like Social Security numbers and bank account credentials. Victims believe they're about to make easy money, but all they'll receive is trouble.

Resolve to avoid job scams by:

  • Skipping ads with higher-than-average pay for "no experience necessary".

  • Confirming the company is actually hiring for the position by contacting their human resources department.

BONUS TIP: Submit online applications via a company's job portal found on their main web page, not a hyperlink sent to you via email or text.

Do You Suspect a Scam?

Report suspected scams to the Federal Trade Commission, which collects information about fraudsters and works with local law enforcement to alert communities about scams in their area.