Beware of These 10 Common Scams
From door-to-door home improvement to Nigerian banking to online dating, scammers use a variety of cons to try to part you from your money. They may prey on your trust, your kindness, even your search for a job. Keep your financial security intact and protect your family by learning how to spot the signs of a scam. Remember, if it's too good to be true, it's probably not true. Watch out for these 10 common scams:
1. Door-to-Door Home Improvement Scam
Home improvement scammers usually work by knocking on people’s doors and offering them a deal for a repair or maintenance service of some kind. Once hired, they may take the money and run, or they may do a subpar job.
Never purchase home improvement services from someone who has come to your door. Take the time to look into any company before you hire them. Get references, and check the company’s record with the Better Business Bureau.
2. Door-to-Door Magazine Subscriptions Scam
There’s a knock at the door. It’s someone, possibly a child, who claims to be selling magazine subscriptions. You may be told it’s for a fundraiser. If you buy some of these subscriptions, however, you are likely to find the magazines never arrive.
While there are legitimate door-to-door magazine sales, magazine subscription fraud is on the rise. Protect yourself by never buying magazine subscriptions from a door-to-door salesperson.
3. Scams Involving Warnings of Legal Trouble
You receive a phone call from someone who claims that you are in legal trouble of some kind, and you must pay a fine. They will often claim that there is a warrant for your arrest.
These scammers often target people who have supposedly been fined for red light violations or people with short-term loans. The reality is that debt collectors do not have the power to make arrests. If you receive a call like this, assume it is a scam, and inform the police.
4. Job-Hunting Scams
Scammers target job-seekers in a few different ways. They may email you claiming they found your resume online, and they are eager to hire you — once they get your personal information.
Scammers may also pose as an employment agency or a bogus job board, asking for money or personal information for a chance at a job. Protect yourself by being wary of unsolicited emails from people you don’t know. Never pay up front for a job board or an employment agency.
5. Online Dating Scams
If you’re looking for love online, beware of seemingly perfect matches who suddenly need money for an emergency of some kind. These scammers often correspond with their marks for extended periods of time to build trust.
You can protect yourself by never sending money to someone you met on an online dating site. If a potential match seems too perfect to be true, be wary and exercise caution.
6. Telemarketing Scams
It’s your lucky day: you’ve won a gift, a vacation, the lottery, or some other windfall. The prize is all yours for a small fee, perhaps related to postage.
Always take the time to investigate a company before making a purchase or accepting an offer of any kind. In general, it’s a good idea to avoid buying anything from someone who has cold-called you.
7. Nigerian Money Reimbursement Scams
A deposed Nigerian prince or other government official wants you to help him transfer a vast sum of money out of the country, an act criminalized under Section 419 of the Nigerian criminal code. Alternatively, you may be asked to make payments upfront, with the promise of reimbursement.
Never give your information or money to a stranger asking you to help them transfer money.
8. Advance Fee Loan Scams
A lender is willing to offer you a generous loan or credit card in exchange for an advance fee. In reality, all such offers are bogus.
You can protect yourself from this one by never paying upfront for a loan or credit card.
9. Bogus Charity Scams
These scammers prey on your generosity, posing as fundraisers for a charitable cause. Protect yourself by being skeptical of cold calls or emails. Research any charity before giving.
10. Pyramid Schemes
You’re offered the chance to get rich quick. All you have to do is sell a product or invest in a “sure” opportunity, and recruit others to do the same.
Pyramid schemes work by using a steady stream of new recruits to pay off early investors, and collapse when they run out of new recruits. Avoid any “investment opportunity” or sales job in which recruiting is the only way to make real money.
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