Can you really avoid a scam? Most people think it will eventually happen to them but it doesn’t have to, you can prevent it just by using common sense and being a smart consumer.
I had a call the other evening from my bank, it was from an unknown number asking me to call another number back due to fraud being detected with my ATM/Debit card. The unknown number immediately threw up a red flag for me, I thought, what bank calls from an unknown number? So I researched the phone number they asked me to call back (Google does wonders, let me tell ya). It turns out the phone number was legit and it did belong to my bank, but that isn’t always the case!
In fact many many people fall victim to scams every single year and it’s not just one type, there are so many scams going around out there it’s hard to keep up! So what do you do, how do you spot a scam? The first basic principle is simple, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Also See: How To Spot A Fake Freebie
Phone or Email Company Scams :
This is one my poor grandfather fell victim to I don’t even know how many times. A person contacts you by phone stating that they are with your bank or other company and just need to verify some of your information. You “verify” your info. with them by giving them your bank account number, social security number, first born child, etc to verify you are who you say you are. And the call ends you think everything is fine and then the next day $400 or more is withdrawn from your account.
What do you do? First off your bank should/would never contact you and as you to verify your information. It will never happen and if anyone calls asking for this info. that should throw up a red flag right there. If you get a call (like I did above) don’t always trust it, call your bank or financial institution on a number you know belongs to them and find out the validity of the call that way.
Debt Collection Scams :
These are actually more common than people think, you get a phone call from so and so claiming you owe a remaining balance for some old debt. You don’t remember any old debt and think “well I must owe it and I don’t want my credit score to be damaged”. If you get a call from a “collection agency” real or legit, ask them to send you a certified letter stating what is owed and any history on the claim. Never give out your information over the phone to them without first verifying who they are. You can ask them for their company name, contact number, where the debt is originally from, etc. You have a right to gather any information you feel necessary and the right to verify that information before you go any further. This goes for both legit and scams trying to collect old debt from you.
If they refuse to give you any information that is a major red flag right there, they are required to tell you. If they refuse to do so then do not take any further action and do not give out any personal information.
Email / Dating / Craigslist Scams :
I’m sure we’ve all seen these, emails stating that someone has a relative who passed away and left them a gazillion dollars and they need someone to finagle the money for them and for doing so they’ll cut you so much to keep. Or you’re selling an item on Craigslist and they want to send you so much to ship it, you cash the check and send them so much back, etc. These are those cases where if it sounds too good to be true, it is. Let’s face it, no one is ever going to contact you and offer you a large sum of money for doing next to nothing, it just doesn’t work that way.
Ignore/delete any types of emails like this you may receive, there’s no point in responding because the scammer on the other end has no conscious and just doesn’t care.
NEVER cash a check for anyone you don’t know, while it sounds fantastic and you can make a quick buck it is always a scam and will never end well. YOU will owe your financial institution the money to cover the bounced check and the amount you wired back to the scammer. You are held liable for this and can even be prosecuted for check fraud (though it’s rare, it is a possibility).
Work at home & mystery shopper scams :
These have been around for quite awhile, I remember seeing these before these guys decided to change it up and start sending out checks. You find a site or even an ad that offers work at home opportunity or the chance to become a mystery shopper and all you have to do is pay a fee up front. Stop right there. No LEGIT company will ever ask you to pay to become a mystery shopper nor will they tell you what companies you will be shopping for, that is kept private until the shop is available with an actual legit site.
How do you avoid falling victim?
Be smart! The best way to avoid these types of scams is to use your brain and if something about it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. While it may seem great to get a sum of money or to make $1,000 a week working at home it’s not going to end well on your end.
Verify every phone number that seems fishy or you’ve received a call from, there are tons of websites out there devoted to people reporting these types of scams from different phone numbers. 800Notes.com is a good site to find out information on 800 numbers and see what other people are saying and have experienced.
Forward fraud emails from “companies” to the actual company itself so they can keep track of what is being sent out, this helps them to try to cut down on these scam issues and also keeps them in the loop as to who and what are using their company name.
Never give your account information (Paypal included) through any email link asking you to “verify” your info. Like I stated above, no company will ever do this and it is an immediate red flag.
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