Have you noticed how you can't seem to be able to turn on the television or radio today and not hear about some new scam that people have fallen victim to? If you stop and think about it for too long, it is something that can frankly make you just a tad depressed. The key to avoiding money scams lies in recognizing money scams. While it would take a really long time to learn and memorize the thousands of scams that there are, as well as all of their variants, there are a few guidelines that you can use to help you recognize them.
- Is it too good to be true? There is an old saying that goes "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is." While this may sound like an old cliche, it became that way for a reason. For example, any deal where you are promised a $4000.00 return for only a $100 investment is more than likely a scam. Such dreams only really come true in fairy tales.
- Did you ask for the information? Most scams begin with unsolicited information being given, help being offered, or even requested. A common type of scam that is frequently seen in today's world is where the potential victim receives an email from someone that claims to be in dire financial need, but yet about to inherit a large some of money. As the letter progresses, it attempts to tug at your heart strings and requests that you send a little bit of money (which will be repaid exponentially) so that they can receive their money. None of this is real, and the individual who sent you the email is simply trying to scam you for a bit of money, or if they are lucky your bank account.
- You are required to pay upfront. Before anyone gets all upset and says that even legitimate investment companies require money upfront, this situation is a little different. Typically scammers will request that you give them money in one of the following ways: cash, cashier's check, or money order. All of these methods are particularly difficult to trace later on. If you have any qualms, questions, or concerns about a particular investment do some checking. Contact the local Better Business Bureau, the main office of the investment company, or even your local police department and check the company out.
- Your silence is "requested." If your general silence is either requested, or strongly encouraged (as to not spoil the deal) then you may be faced with a scam. Most legitimate business opportunities will not require keeping the fact of the deal quiet from friends or family. Again, if you are requested to keep the information quiet, then you really need to do a bit more checking into the company.
- Did you hear the magic words, "It's a sure thing?" It's really sad to say, but the only truly sure things in life are death and taxes; and even some taxes can be rid of if you have a good accountant. If you ever hear the words "it's a sure thing," run for the hills. This is a huge red flag for a scam.