Prepping means getting ready for some kind of disaster, whether it be a natural disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake or a man-made one like a market collapse or nuclear war. Some of these events are more likely to happen than others; however, predicting when and where are next to impossible.
One thing is certain though, if you send the $1000 in legal fees to that nice Nigerian guy that wants to make sure you receive the big inheritance from the uncle you didn’t know you had, you can kiss that hard earned cash goodbye.
Preparing for anything also means making sure you have a spare tire, good insurance, a fire escape plan, and not getting scammed on the internet, but it happens to people out there every single day. There are the love scams where some poor guy or gal thinks they’ve got the love of their life on the other side of the keyboard and eventually start sending them money to help them out of a tight spot.
Guys, sometimes that’s a man on the other side of the keyboard. Icky eh?
Or email scams. My mother sent me an email a few months ago that said something like, “Help! I went to Europe and I got robbed and now I don’t have any money. Please please send me $xxxxx so I can get home.” I picked up the phone and called her at home. She was shocked when she found out someone had hacked her email address and was soliciting her friends for money, but you know what? One of her friends actually wrote back and asked how much she needed and to where should she send it? Big heart, but a dim bulb. If you know my parents you will understand they are as likely to go to Europe as I am to sprout wings and fly to the moon unassisted.
Not too long ago an acquaintance decided he wanted to be on the game show Deal or No Deal. Here’s a deadly combination for you: serious country bumpkin with almost no computer skills, a deep and very real love for a game show I hope to never ever see in my whole life, and his mother’s credit card (he’s 40 and still lives at home.) He gets on the ‘net and finds a site dedicated to helping people get on the show. I knew something was up when he asked if I could send a picture of him in his best wife beater standing next to his 4 x 4 to the game show because they needed to see a picture of him. Bemused, I helped him out and then forgot about it. Well, a couple of days later his phone started ringing off the hook. They absolutely had to have him on the show. He just needed to send $352.54 (or some such bizarre amount) so that they could take some special photos of him or something to that effect. At that point I knew something was definitely up (trust me – you’d understand if you could see him), so I got online and started searching. Within two minutes I called him back and told him not to give anybody a credit card number as it was a scam. Needless to say he was disappointed, but he didn’t lose any money that time.
And then there was the woman at work who approached me one day and asked if there was any way for her daughter to get her $5000 necklace back. Apparently she sent it to someone in Yugoslavia or the Ukraine and was quite upset when they never sent the promised money. Imagine that. Apparently the FBI said they’d look into it, but they told her not to hold out too much hope on ever seeing it again. Seems that particular scam is real popular.
Why Do Scams Work?
Scammers play on our desires and needs. If you’re a love sick guy waiting for Ms. Right to come along you could be an easy target. The desire for love is so strong that people will ignore warning signs and let their heart make decisions it shouldn’t be making. And usually the scammers are very good at what they do.
Whatever your weakness, whatever it is you want, there is a potential scammer waiting in the background looking for a way to bilk you out of your money.
Check out this site for ways they look to cheat you.
Tips for Not Getting Scammed
The above examples are the tiniest tip of the scammer’s iceberg out there. Here are a couple of tips for not getting ripped off by clever scammers.
1. If it sounds too good to be true, it is. A gorgeous girl is dying to hook up with you over the internet and you’re just an average looking guy and she suddenly starts asking for money? Scam. Get real pal, that supermodel is just after what little cash you have left after inflation and the economy is done with you. (Although it might be easier and cheaper than a divorce when I think about it.)
2. Always be on the alert for something that sounds fishy. If that foreign guy from Craigslist trusts you enough to send a cashiers check in an amount large enough to cover the car you’re selling, plus shipping to Europe (or wherever) and a little left over for you for your troubles…. scam. People have deposited the check and then sent their sale item overseas only to discover two weeks later that the check bounced. Imagine that!
3. Research anything that sounds fishy or sets off alarm bells. Google is a fantastic tool for finding these kinds of scams. Take an extra ten minutes and do a quick search and it could save you thousands of dollars and a ton of heartache.
4. Poor written skills. If the guy or gal writing you seems like they have terrible writing skills, like maybe English is a second language, it probably is. Don’t fall for it!
Remember that there are literally thousands of scammers out there wanting to get their greedy paws on your hard earned money. Don’t let them have it!
Here are a couple of sites to browse through:
Have you or someone you know been scammed? Tell me about it in the comments below.