5 ways to spot a scam
Here are some simple 5 ways to spot a scam, that I learned the hard way. Last weekend, I almost fell for a scam. A prince decided to give me all of his money and I…well, not that old trick, but to the real story. My fiance and I are on the lookout for a new pet. We decided on a French bulldog (we have a name picked out and everything, Dallas.) Even though we decided not to get one until the “BIG” day we thought it would be smart to start looking and familiarize ourselves with market prices. Gosh, those dogs are expensive especially the one we have our eye on the “blue breed.”
So, it’s late Saturday night while browsing through Google and we came across a puppy sale website and in the mix of some adorable and not so adorable dogs, there it was the puppy of our dreams, Little Dallas was so perfect and cute. Initially, I thought this dog must be around $5,000 or $6,000 but to my surprise, it was priced at $1,500.
1.Too good to be true well. it probably isn’t.
This is the one we have all heard before, from our grandparents, all the way to that creepy neighbor across the streets. “If it is too good to be true is because it ain’t”. But sometimes if you search well enough you can find legit offers that may sound too good to be true. I personally have had offers that were a legit 75% off all the way to 85% off the retail price.
So how to know when is too good to be true? Well, proceed with caution and look for signs of anything that may look abnormal or out of the ordinary.
Going back to my story, this puppy was too perfect not to contact the seller, we were too damn excited not to.
2. Money is not all they are looking for
Sometimes we take for granted how valuable our personal information is, we check in on Facebook, we share our activities, likes, passion, jobs, and professions all for free on our social media. Facebook doesn’t charge you to use their platform or either try to sell you on anything, but the company is still worth around the billions. How is that possible? Because it’s actual product is YOU and your information. Scammers know the value of this information, so even though sometimes a scam may seem innocence because there is no monetary exchange, be aware and know that your information is just as valued by them. So how do you avoid giving away your information? Create a new e-mail account and use it for your “Not so trusted interactions,” or just use a temporary e-mail service such as Temp Mail.
On Sunday morning I received a response from Stephanie Martinez (firstname.lastname@example.org) she told me the puppy was sold to Rev. Larry Devereaux, but unfortunately, due to his dedication to God he was left with no time to take care for the puppy and he was looking for a new home for his beloved Frenchy. She promptly gave me his e-mail (email@example.com ) and told me to contact him and to say I was recommended by her.
3. Too much, unasked information.
Scammers will try to play with your emotions, to make you feel compelled by their cause and to try to justify things such as the reason for such a low price, or why they can only take some specific type of payment etc. So whenever you see extra information especially personal information that was never asked such as he/she is a reverend or a pastor or nurse or an orphan, “…busy doing the work of God”… I got a divine call to serve God and humanity” these are all tactics to take your mind of words such as scammers, hackers, bandits… they want you to picture this “humble/perfect” human being so that way you will think to yourself, this person would never do that.
So if there are too much of the unasked information and most importantly irrelevant to the item/services, BE AWARE.
At this point, I was already very much aware that this was a scam, but I decided to tag along. When you are at this point it is very important for you to check yourself, depending on how much you want or have search the item/services you are being scammed on, your heart may play a big role because even after all the signs your heart may still want it to be true. This may blind you to the truth, so when in doubt ask a friend, search the web for articles like this one and be aware.
4. The Hotmails and Yahoos
This is not a hate on the email providers, but the truth is Yahoo and Hotmail are the top choices for scammers. No I’m not saying scams cannot come from a Gmail account lets remember it all started with a Gmail account, but Yahoo and Hotmail are known for being very flexible on their “Scammer flagging” rules, not sure if it is because they were one of the first in the business, and never bother to change the rules, regardless if an email comes from any of this services providers Hotmail, Yahoo even AOL be aware. Unless the email is coming from that one family member that we all have that still uses their AOL account, UncleJoh@Aol.com, but we all know Uncle John will always call after sending an email, so if there is no call from Uncle John about an email he just sent, BE AWARE!
5. Fight Fire with Fire
Scammers are getting smarter by the hour, so we need to do our proper research, while we may not have all the amazing tools we see on movies, we have Google and Facebook and they can go a long way. A simple Google search with the scammer’s e-mail can already put you on the right path. Also use logic, a reverend, pastor, or someone in a leadership role would have some kind of web presence. So, search the full name on facebook/Linkedin and if you have the location even better, if nothing comes up or if the information doesn’t match, RUN!
I hope this article has helped you, feel free to share with friends and together we can fight this!