Common Scams and How to Prevent Them
Scam artists have been around for eons, but in the last century technology has greatly increased the pool of people they can scam. With telephones, they can scam anyone in the same country and the internet allows them to access naïve victims all around the globe.
Scam artists rely on gaining your trust and then manipulating you into spending your money on a phony product or service. They prefer to imitate a reputable organization, that way you are more likely to believe them. But with the knowledge of the more common forms of scamming you can prepare yourself and prevent them from happening to you.
The internet was a godsend for scammers, because now they weren’t held back by having to physically call people. The exact same email – albeit with a few minor changes like your name – could be sent to millions of email addresses with the click of a button. This has led to some famous scams such as the Nigerian Prince scam.
Most internet scams involve you being promised an amazing offer such as winning a lottery or getting double the asking price of your craigslist advert, but there is a catch. You need to pay some processing fee or pay for shipping.
The most common internet scams all involve this tactic, so simply be on the lookout for something that looks too good to be true. If you are required to use your own money to unlock this amazing reward, then you are being scammed. These scams can also come as a plea for help from a stranger or a friend’s email address. If it’s a stranger, ignore it, if it’s a friend ask a personal question about a shared experience to verify if it is actually them.
Phishing is also on the rise. Phishing is a form of scam where you receive an email asking you to verify personal or bank details by following a link provided in the email. These links don’t take you the legitimate site, but rather to a clone which saves the important info you enter. Rather check with the bank or service in question directly by finding their website online. Never click the link sent in the email.
Though internet scams are prevalent, telephone scams are still incredibly common. Again, the premise is to get you to pay money for something that sounds too good. This can include unbelievably cheap travel packages or a credit card despite your bad credit. The scammer will offer something enticing, but then require a processing fee or they will ask for your social security number or bank details.
The common scam methods can include investment opportunities, charitable causes or lottery winnings. Always double check with a separate source. Never give any personal information over the phone.
Credit and Loan Scams
If you are in financial trouble you might consider using a payday loan company or some other form of quick cash. These are more often than not a scam. The best of them will charge you a ghastly interest rate, but most will have hidden charges to keep you paying them.
If you need a larger loan, be careful of any loan that is offered over the phone or by a company which isn’t registered in your state. Scammers will also likely ask for you to pay an upfront fee.
In both cases rather contact your bank and inquire in their options for you.