5 Tips to Keep You From Falling for Scams
Whether you’re on the internet, you get a call from an unknown number, or someone you don’t know comes knocking, you should probably be thinking about scams. Of course, not everyone you talk to is going to try and scam you. But you should always have your eyes open for anyone trying to take advantage of you.
The thing is, there are literally endless scams that might pop up at any moment. So, how do you stay alert without having to memorize all of these scams? Remember these five tips to keep yourself from falling for most of them:
-Never pay with cash or gift cards
-Verify authenticity of escrow companies
-Check on owners of email addresses
-Investigate deals that sound too good to be true
-Use an online search to verify people’s identities
Don’t Send Gift Cards as Payment
This is a classic, and it’s one that you’ll see pop up in a variety of different scams. Scammers will come up with all sorts of reasons why you might need to send payment in the form of a gift card. For example, a scammer might claim you need to buy gift cards for a specific company because the scammer works for that company.
But no matter what the justification is, it’s a lie. Scammers love gift cards because they’re completely untraceable. The scammer will have you buy the card, read off the numbers, then disappear with your money.
Check Escrow Companies Through a Third Party
A common way that scammers will try to build credibility is by claiming that an escrow company is certifying the deal. The scammer will direct you to an authentic-looking website that claims to act as a traditional escrow company. You pay the company or send your goods to the company and wait.
The thing is, it’s not a real escrow company. The scammer has set the company up to make the scam more successful. You can avoid these “fake escrow” scams by researching an escrow company thoroughly outside of the website before you send in anything.
Double-Check All Email Addresses
Phishing, which entails a scammer claiming to be from an official company to convince you to lower your guard, is a very common way scams start. At first glance, it can be difficult for you to even tell an email didn’t come from an official source.
One of the best ways to thwart this is to very carefully check the email address that sent you an email. For example, someone pretending to be from Craigslist wouldn’t be able to get an official Craigslist email address. But the scammer may be able to get Craigslist.com.eu, Craigs-list.com, Craaigslist.com, or many other similar names and misspellings.
Look Up Suspicious and “Too-Good-to-Be-True” Offers
The old adage says if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. If someone contacts you with information about an incredibly cheap apartment, a great-paying job working from home, or a reselling business that requires almost no work, it’s good for you to be suspicious.
When you receive these offers, your first instinct should be to look them up online. You may be able to find information about scams similar to the one you’re faced with at the moment, or even the exact scam to which you’re about to fall victim.
Use PeopleFinders to Research People
If money’s changing hands in any way, you need to do your due diligence to make sure you’re not the victim of a scam. One of the best ways to do that is to make sure you actually know who you’re dealing with. When you need to check and make sure someone is actually the person they claim to be, you can use a people search site like PeopleFinders to try and verify their identity.
With PeopleFinders, you can perform a people search to try and make sure that an individual is giving you a real name and letting you know everything you need to know. Or if you get a phone call from a number you don’t recognize, you can perform a reverse phone lookup to attempt to verify the name of the person or company who actually owns that number.
Though it might seem surprising, it’s actually easier than you might think to keep yourself from falling victim to scams. (And not going crazy from worrying about it all the time!) All you have to do is make sure you take an extra few steps to ensure your safety. Whether you’re buying or selling, you should always look out for your own safety, both physically and financially. Using tools like those at PeopleFinders may make it easier to ensure your trust isn’t misplaced.
Image attribution: magele-picture – stock.adobe.comTags: Online Identity, Safety Tips, Scammer
Categorized in: Scams