How to Avoid Being Used by a Scammer

A scam can be defined as a fraudulent business scheme.  Sometime we refer to the people who do this as con artists or scammers.  Before the internet, it was actually harder to scam people.  Go figure.  In one of my posts, I mention looking for websites that don’t seem to have a point of contact, photos of the person, or just seem off somehow.  What they are offering you sounds too good to be true.  We are going to explore that just a little bit further.

Scammers, fakes, and con artists have one thing in common.  The story never adds up completely.  They might have built an elaborate web of lies meant to confuse you and others just like you.  They look for a spot where you might be emotionally weak, and when they find it, they go in deep.  This has happened to me before with the sale of a timeshare.  Yup.  Something never added up about the company that offered to sell my timeshare.  Always do a background check.  In this case, I had and nothing was coming up…yet.  Just a feeling that this was wrong.

A few warning signs you might be able to spot:

  1. They seem too good to be true with their credentials, history and background of elaborate stories.
  2. They constantly praise you, reach out to you, and confide things in you that you are not supposed to tell anyone.
  3. They have an uncanny way of staring at you or speaking about themselves as if they are the answer to your needs.
  4. They won’t give you exact details of where the money is going, but they really need it right away.  They appreciate you giving to x, y, and z charity.
  5. Note: If you want to help a charity, do your research and see if they disclose their financials, explain what they do, or even provide evidence of non-profit status.  They should be well-regarded by other organizations in their field and known for their work.  If you can’t find anyone they have previously helped with documented sources and testimonials, it might not be real.
  6. The best type of scams will play off your emotions…be aware of the hook they are using.

One thing that is best for all of us to learn in this digital age is NOT to reveal too much information the person can use.  Keep a healthy distance and observe their behavior.  Oftentimes, they change wording several times on what their end mission is going to be.  They are trying to map out the best copy to get the most bang…for your buck.

These people are actually incredibly adapt at changing their personalities as the need arises.  Most of the time, these people will hide behind their computers…unless they have bigger visions for their plans.  Just note any irrational behavior, anger at you not doing exactly what they asked you to do, or excuses that they use to cover things up.  These people are trying to gain your trust so that in the long run, they can use your wallet.  If someone new in your life is asking for money, it is time to reflect on the above tips and see what happens when you give them space.

If someone is trying to intimidate or verbally abuse you because you have gotten wise to their game, remember, you can walk away and report it to the proper authorities.  I reported the timeshare group to everyone I knew, lodged complaints with my bank against the group and warned many others that it was a scam.  Don’t wait until the person has your money.  Be smart and stay safe.

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