Most people like to think that they are too smart to get scammed by a con artist. They’re not the kind of person who gives their account number to some Nigerian prince who emailed them about money they were going to be given for no apparent reason. They’re not the type of person to fall for the scam of the very nice gentlemen renewing their TV Guide subscription even if they don’t remember subscribing in the first place. Unfortunately, everyone is potentially vulnerable to a con artist. As the public becomes more self aware of what may be a scam, the con artist has to become more sophisticated. However, you can protect yourself from becoming the victim of a scam artist in many ways such as making yourself a difficult target and recognizing what might be a scam.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from a con artist is to not be too trusting. Con artist want you to trust them because their scam depends on it. When it comes to your money and personal information your trust should be very difficult to get and even more difficult to keep. Every human being is born with an innate skepticism of uncertain people and situations. Do not ignore that inner sense that something may not be right. Even if that TV Guide representative on the phone is very kind and talks a good game, it doesn’t mean you should trust them with your information. Be skeptical about the offer they are pitching. Look up the company on the Better Business Bureau website. Much of the time just a simple Google search for the name of the company will reveal it to be legitimate or a scam. If something in your gut tells you that this offer is fishy then don’t part with money or information and insist on verifying what they are telling you first.
The key to disabling any attempt to scam you is to be informed. This means that you should research the things you are being told by someone. Company logos and brochures are easy to forge and may not always be a clear indication that an offer is legitimate or not. For example, you receive an email that has the Paypal logo on it and says that they fear your account has been breached, click this link to verify your security information. First you need to ask yourself, do you even have a Paypal account linked to that account? If not then clearly this is a scam. If you do, then use our common sense. That information seems pretty important so it’s logical that there will be some notification on your account. So you go to the Paypal website independent of the email link and sign in, only to find nothing there. Now you can say for sure that this email is a scam that just wants to get your login information, all with just a little bit of common sense and suspicion.
Another possible scam scenario is when a gentlemen comes to your door and says that he’s noticed your yard could use some landscaping. Then he says he has some free time, but only today; this is suspicious. Any legitimate businessman or woman will not pressure you with time, money or limited offers that force you to act now or else it will be lost. This is a sure sign of a scam.
Do not accept any deal that requires money before any services have been performed. Any legitimate business will perform the agreed on services or offer a contract prior to asking for any money. Con artists have no intention of doing what they are agreeing to do so they want your money before they end their conversation with you. Also be sure that if you think you are buying something that what you are buying is legitimate or it might be someone who just wants to get your account information to take your money later. A good example of this is receiving a call to renew a magazine subscription that you aren’t sure you are subscribed to currently, that should be verified before you agree to give them any money.
Ask for information before agreeing to exchange any funds. Any legitimate business or charitable organization will have no problem answering any question that you have until you feel comfortable with the deal they are offering you. If no one is willing to answer your questions in a direct and straightforward manner, then chances are they have soemthing to hide.
The easiest way to protect yourself from being a victim of a con artist is to stop the scam before it starts. Recognize the suspicious activity for what it is and don’t allow the conversation to go any farther. Once a con artist has your money or your bank account information, there is not a lot of recourse for you getting that money back. The best thing you can do is make yourself aware of what suspicious offers look like and then verify everything.