Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details. If we are not careful we may reveal facts about ourselves, which allow con artists to clean out our bank accounts and use our credit card numbers. Con artists are experts in human psychology and behavior. They are self-assured and are smooth talkers. Their games are often hard to detect, but here are some warning signs to help protect yourself:
- Look out for someone claiming to be the IRS, a FBI agent, bank examiner, police officer or bank employee, wanting you to withdraw money to assist in an investigation.
- Don’t do business with someone who has to go door-to-door to solicit business. Reputable companies have enough to do without having to solicit customers. Remember to get recommendations from friends, family and others you trust about reputable contractors you can use.
- Be suspicious of high-pressure sales tactics.
- Never trust anyone who tells you "buy now or the deal is off."
- Be cautious of anyone who wants you to invest in a promising company. Often the company quietly closes and you lose.
- Make sure any donation you make is well spent. Pick a favorite charity or two, then check them out completely. Don’t be pressured or shamed into donating to groups you don’t know about. Many swindlers come up with false charities with names similar to legitimate groups.
- Beware of someone who befriends you then asks you to put up "good faith" money in order to share in unexpectedly found money or valuables.
- Never give out social security or credit card numbers over the phone.
- Requesting payment in the form of a gift card is a big red flag it is a scam.