How to Detect (and Avoid) a Scam

In a perfect world, everyone is honest, above board and would never dream of doing anything to take advantage of their fellow man.

In a perfect world, everyone is honest, above board and would never dream of doing anything to take advantage of their fellow man.

Unfortunately, we don’t live in this world. Our world, while positive in many ways, does include a number of scammers who seem to live for the joy of preying on good people like you.

Here’s the good news: like many things in life, being forewarned means being forearmed. To avoid being scammed, you have to channel your inner bloodhound and learn how to sniff out potential fraud and scams, which in turn will help to protect your good name.

As for how to do this, consider the following tips:

Be Wary of Out of the Blue Requests

As the FTC notes, criminals are pretty adept at using clever schemes to scam people. They often use a combo platter of technology with some old tricks to get people to give them personal information. To stay ahead of the crooks’ game, never send money or give out information to an unexpected phone call, text or email. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from your bank, ask for a phone number to call the person back. And if an email comes in from a charity asking for a donation and you want to give some money, call the organization directly and make a donation by phone or through their secure website—never through some random email.

Do Your Research Before Starting a Job

It’s awful to think that business owners would ever scam their employees, but it can and does happen. Unfortunately, in the land of “work from home jobs,” this type of situation occurs far too often. You might have a BFF who had to pay a ton of money up front for poor quality products that she couldn’t give away, let alone sell. Or you might know someone who got involved in a pyramid scheme. Prior to accepting any type of work, do some solid research and look up everything you can about the company.

There are some key differences between common scams and legit jobs and you should definitely learn to spot them. For example, many have asked if the direct sales giant Amway is a scam because of ignorance surrounding the direct sales industry. To truly determine if an opportunity is legit and a good fit, do in-depth research.

Don’t Believe Everything You Read, See and Hear

If your grandma ever said “It has to be true—I read it in the newspaper!” you know how concerning this type of blanket trust can be. People today should still use the same level of caution when they see or hear things, especially when a credible celebrity is allegedly involved. For example, it’s all-too common these days for ads to promote some amazing product that is apparently endorsed by a famous person. This might entice you to buy the product—after all, if Oprah loves it, you will too, right? Unfortunately, this celeb may have no idea that he or she is affiliated with a product that may be bogus. Go to the person’s official website first and see if the item or service is featured on the site; if it’s not, chances are good the ad and product may be a scam.

Being a Doubting Thomas Will Pay Off

While you want to trust others and believe that they have your best interests in heart, the fact remains that there are plenty of scammers and crooks out there waiting to do their dirty work. By being aware of their common tricks and schemes and avoiding them like the plague, as well as doing your due diligence and plenty of homework, you should avoid being a victim of a scam.

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