"Congratulations! Your long lost relative Bob has left you an inheritance! All we need from you is your social security number and account number and we will deposit $100,000 to your account!" While a lot of scams seem to be blatantly obvious others may be harder to detect. Do you know how to spot a scam? Here are some helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim.
1. An upfront payment is required before you can get any real information. If a site won’t give you a clear overview of what exactly it’s trying to sell you with some real examples of what you’ll be getting in exchange for your payment, don’t hand over a dime.
2. Promise of a quick route to wealth or to exceptional income. If it were that easy to make a huge income, then wouldn’t they be using it to make a huge income? Don’t trust emailed promises from shady-looking websites.
In the real world most people do not become wealthy overnight. It usually takes a great deal of smarts and hard work to accumulate significant income. And it doesn’t happen overnight, but takes years to build that wealth. These "get rich quick" schemes are myths, designed to sell you on unrealistic dreams and to extract money from your pocket.
3. You can’t figure out how the person making the offer benefits. If you can’t figure out how the other person involved in this offer is making money, then you should stay away from it. These individuals are often making money in ways you can’t see, and they don’t want you to see. They could be trying to get you to install bad software on your computer, or possibly grooming you for some sort of identity theft. Whatever it might be, avoid it. Only enter into arrangements where it’s clear what both sides get out of the deal.
4. High-pressure pitches or limited-time offers. Scammers are notorious for creating a false sense of urgency and attempting to induce panic. Don’t waste your money or time on products that can’t be presented to you solely on their own merits. If someone has to use pressure tactics that make you feel rushed or make you feel bad about yourself, walk away.
5. Pop-up ads asking you to download something. You should never, ever download software to your computer from anywhere that isn’t completely reputable. If something pops up telling you it’s time for a software update, don’t download it by pressing the button. Instead go to the actual vendor for the software and get it directly from the source.
6. Overly complex jargon. A product that is worth considering should be able to be explained in simple terms. Even things that are complex can be broken down if the person wants you to understand it. Jargon is often used to confuse people and cause them to make mistakes. If they are using overly complex terms that you cannot understand, it’s best to walk away.