A scam is as old as Adam and Eve, did you know? But through the years, its basic components have remained the same an unsuspecting victim, an object of desire (money, passwords, bank account numbers, etc.) and the con artist. All these ingredients stirred together can weave the story of millions (even billions) of dollars lost and untold events of heartaches and embarrassment. Don’t want to be a statistic? Use these 10 tips to protect yourself and avoid getting scammed:
1. Too rich, too fast? Be wary.
Remember these ads? “$4,000 in One Week Working from Home!” “$1,000 a Day Stuffing Envelopes!” “$300,000 a Year Even Without Experience!” “Double Your Money in Just a Few Weeks!” Tempting, aren’t day? If only they were true.
When you’re being approached with get-rich-quick schemes, be extremely wary. If this opportunity were real, don’t you think that by this time, there will no longer be people living below the poverty line? If it’s too good to be true, you better believe that it probably is.
2. Be updated about the latest tricks.
The best way to avoid getting scammed is to know what these scams are and how they are being performed. In case you come across one, you will know that it is not to be trusted. If you encounter a proposal or opportunity which you believe is a scam, try to check online from sites that expose frauds. To ensure that a company or business is legit, you may get in touch with your local Better Business Bureau to verify its background.
3. Is the person pressuring you? Be paranoid.
Most scam artists won’t bother biding their time because they know the more time that passes, the less their scam story will hold up. They want you to fall for their trick pronto because then, you won’t have the opportunity to do your research or learn of the scam from a previous victim.
4. Before you pay for something, ask if it can be obtained for free.
Avoid getting scammed by services that pretend to offer you something that you can obtain free of cost. For example, there are scam sites that offer you opportunities for work in the form of lists which you can only access if you pay a small fee.
If you check, these sites are simply names of companies or links to websites, the kind of information you can easily search for using a search engine without spending a dime.
5. Don’t trust the guarantee too much.
Offering guarantees may be required for some businesses but not everyone can effectively carry this out. Case in point: companies or websites that offer guarantees of employment or earnings. Some employment scams like to promote their tricks by assuring people they are guaranteed to get hired, all in exchange for a set amount of fees.
Although ideal, this is by no means possible. Nobody can guarantee you a position or assure you of great earnings.
6. Try to look for professionalism about the business.
Little things give away a scam, such as inconsistencies, bad grammar, spelling errors and ill-designed websites and company logos. You’ll also encounter some strange business practices, such as answering machines receiving your calls (you only receive a call back if you leave a message), websites that mimic other companies’ websites and free e-mail addresses. Of course, some scammers are careful with the details but most scams won’t bother with refining their campaigns.
7. Be careful about ads with the same body of texts but different titles.
You must have come across these kinds of ads before the same enthusiastic promises with different titles offered by companies with different names. If you come across ads and proposals like these, ignore them completely.
8. Always ask for identification and confirm the documents.
Any legitimate business will be more than glad to provide you with proper identification or direct you to a website or links that will verify their existence. If it’s a scam, they will either decline or be dodgy about it. If they do provide you with info, even the documents are suspect.
9. Protect your information.
Your information is gold to a scammer. To avoid getting scammed, never give away your information without checking the veracity of the inquiry first. People have lost money and their identities this way.
10. Remember that you will be dealing with professionals.
It’s easy to spot an amateur scammer but when you’re dealing with the real scam artist, even if you’re a jaded individual, you probably will give the scam a certain amount of consideration. Avoid getting scammed by being paranoid and extremely careful. When it comes to dealing with scammers, your best protection is your sense of self-preservation, so use it wisely, and for the best protection…