The Most Common Scams and How To Avoid Them

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Scams have been around for centuries. Even in olden times, marketplaces were full of swindlers and con artists who would deceive honest, hard-working people to make a quick buck. This hasn’t changed, although the methods that scammers use certainly have. Advances in technology allow hackers and frauds to be more deceptive than ever before, relying on people’s trusting nature and lack of technological knowhow to get one over on them.

If you’ve ever been subject to a scam, you know how unpleasant it can be. Not only do you risk having your money and data stolen, but it also feels like a violation into your life. Someone has wormed their way into your private information by taking advantage of your trust, and you are now paying the price. It’s not always easy to spot a scam, and that’s why it happens so frequently. In fact, 10% of all adults will fall victim to a scam or fraud each year.

This doesn’t have to be you. As long as you can identify the most common scams and how they work, you will be able to keep yourself and your money safe.

Advance fees

This type of scam requires you to pay a substantial sum of money upfront in exchange for a nonexistent product or service. Scammers may contact you by email or phone and offer an attractive proposition such as a work-from-home job opportunity, some inherited money, or a business investment. They will then ask for payment upfront, often in the form of a membership fee or a finders fee. The scammer will take money via moto payments and then disappear into thin air, leaving you with a hefty dent in your savings. 

Luckily, advance-fee scams are usually easy to spot. If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is. Look out for businesses that operate out of PO boxes or ask you to sign a non-disclosure agreement, as this is not standard practice for an above-board company. Conduct your own research on the business before giving out any money to ensure they are who they claim to be and have a good reputation.

Identity theft

Identity theft is one of the most common online scams, and it is becoming increasingly easy for fraudsters to achieve. Internet users constantly enter their personal data online without thinking about the consequences, but you’re giving away more than you realize. It’s easy for a crafty hacker to access your sensitive data by sending you a “phishing” email, which activates when you click on a link and trawls your computer for any juicy information such as credit card details. 

With your identity, scammers can make online payments in your name, take out loans, or even commit criminal offenses. To protect yourself, stop giving out sensitive data to anyone unless you are 100% sure they are trustworthy. Never give out credit card information on the phone unless you made the call, and always shred financial documents before throwing them away. Always check your banking and credit card statements for any irregularities that might indicate fraud.

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