In keeping with my comments yesterday, today’s article is going to be about a category of people I hate the most Scammers.
What is a Scammer? A Scammer is an individual or group that creates a shell (fake) company, charity, lottery, or any other lie to convince people to pay them money when they have no intention of following thru with their side of the bargain their victim thinks they are making.
Now scams come in all shapes and sizes but they all have one thing in common. Their goal is to separate innocent people from their money and give nothing in return. Frankly if these creeps spent as much time earning money honestly as they do trying to cheat people out of it they would probably make more.
A few that are the most common:
Lottery Scams - if you receive a letter in the mail saying you received winnings but you need to pay a processing fee, it’s fake. Fees and taxes are taken out of your winnings from legitimate lotteries. You never pay a cent.
Craigslist Scams. When on craigslist, if you are purchasing a large and/or expensive item and the individual wants you to either wire them money thru Western Union, or wants you to pay in untraceable money sources such as Money Bit cards, especially if they won’t let you come see the item first, it’s a scam.
Phone Charity Collections – never pay money to a charity over the phone. If someone calls and is asking for donations and you decide you may want to contribute, get a name and look them up online. If they don’t have a website or facebook page with a donation link, it’s probably a fake.
Stock Investments – in a time when white and blue collar schemes are running rampant and the stock market is as shaky as a fault line. You’re best overall just keeping your money out of the market, but barring that, never invest in an offer pitched over the phone. Run everything thru a stock broker but still do your own independent research to make sure you’re making the right investment.
There are dozens of others as well, but I’ll give you some general rules to follow to keep your money safe.
1. Never give your bank account or credit card information over the phone. You can never be sure who you’re talking too. And most legitimate organizations don’t phone fund raise anymore anyway.
2. If someone says they need to send you money, especially from a government department, and claim they need your bank account information, it is a lie. One, the government does not contact you by phone (neither do lotteries), and two they don’t do direct deposit. All transactions (except maybe for taxes) are done by check.
3. 3. To make it simple, don’t give anyone your bank account or credit card numbers unless you have independently verified their identity.
And the saddest part about all this is that there is little people can do but beware. Oftentimes money is untraceable, and it’s a case of there being too many out there for police to be able to get involved, especially since a scammer can function from anywhere in the world.
Be safe and watch your bank.