I recently read an artice in, Costco Connection by David and Amanda Horowitz, on ways to avoid being scammed. Here is a link to the article, Tip-Offs to Rip-Offs. Knowing a close family member who had been scammed, gave me the idea of writing this months tips on how to avoid being scammed. Most of the information is based on the scams described by the Horowitzs'.
Here are a few kinds of Scams
- Congratulations! You may receive a certified check for up to $300,000,000 U.S. Cash
- You have been selected to win a trip
- Lose weight without diet and exercise
- You need to sign now
- Just click on the link to win a free electronic device
- You need to sign now. This is a limited time offer
Be Alert and Wary
If you do not want to be a victim of a scam you should be skeptical and informed. When unknown people offer you free stuff and all you need to do is pay for shipping and handling in advance, or send a wire transfer, be very careful. If in doubt at least talk to a friend or someone whose opinion you value.
Most reputable companies will not ask you for personal information like your social security number, birthdate, credit card number or password.
It is best to delete emails from people that you do not recognize
You may also get emails from companies who copy the logo and page of reputable companies like your bank or Paypal. They may say something like log on to update your personal information, with a link to a fraudulent website. Be very wary, it is most likely that it is from a rogue company posing as a reputable company. If you have doubts, it is best to phone the company and ask if they sent such an email. When you do that, you are also alerting the reputable company to possible fraud.
- You may also receive emails, from someone claiming to be in a foreign country and has a huge sum of money that he/she has earned but they are unable to to be in the country and need someone to deposit this money for them in the US. For your help, you are promised thousands of dollars.
- Once you respond to such an email, they will then ask for information from you. Before you know it they have cleaned out your bank account. Such emails are fraudulent.
- Another scam is that a child is dying of cancer or some other grave illness. The child will die if they do not receive some help for medical care. They need a donation.
A close family member was duped this way. They even put the child on the line, begging for some help. This person did mail them money after she found the child's request to be very sad
- When you send money the first time, they have you in the palm of their hands. Next they will say that they need more money for a particular kind of medical procedure. Then the parents have to travel a far distance to get to a doctor. They request urgency in sending the money as time is of the essence. They will convince you to go on giving.
- Please realize that these are fraud schemes and that you are being exploitated because of your good nature.
- Watch out for spelling errors and and poor grammar in emails that promise you a great deal
When entering into a business transaction be alert to the agreement and if necessary hire a lawyer to look at the details. Even rental agreements need close examination so that you understand what you agree to.
It is a good idea to read the terms and conditions of all free offers before agreeing.
- You may be familiar with identity theft. People have had insurmountable problems due to their identities being stolen from them
- When you put your junk mail or envelopes into the recycling bin, it can be accessed by anyone foraging your trash cans. Such information is valuable to them when trying to use your identiy.
- Use a cross shredder to destroy all identifying details like your name address, account numbers and other personal and pertinent numbers.
- When getting rid of old accounts do not just dump it into the recycling bin. Remove all identifiable information. It takes a little while but it may save you a ton of problems
- When getting out of your car, do not leave parcels, purses and handbags easily visible. (I did that a few years ago and the rental car was broken into and my bag was
- If your credit card is stolen, inform your credit card company as soon as possible. Most times you will not be responsible for the purchase of the products that were not authorized by you.
- Inform the police if your bag has been stolen, like in my case
- Most times the credit card companies will cancel that account and give you a new account number. Should you use auto payment and use any of these accounts for billing purposes, you will have to inform the merchants that the card is no longer effective
Now quickly and easily navigate to your next destination.