Don’t trust strangers
Be skeptical of someone approaching you that you don’t know. Scams are everywhere. A good rule of thumb to follow would be if you don’t know the person, don’t take the deal they’re offering.
This particular scam has been used quite often in various forms. Someone will come up to you and tell you that they have a brand new TV in its box for sale, and will show you one in a box. They will give you an extremely cheap price. They will have several TV boxes in their car. You might think WOW what a good deal I can’t pass this up. You purchase the TV but after you open the box you won’t find a TV. It will be rocks or something heavy that is of no value. I know someone who was scammed in this way.
Remember, don’t trust strangers. Another variation on the previous scam is that someone will approach you and say they are a Wal-Mart employee. They may even have an employee badge and vest so that they look legitimate. They will tell you that there is a big screen TV at the local Wal-Mart store and you can purchase it for a discounted price. They will want you to meet them at the loading area at the back of the store with cash. When you get there they will want the money, and after you hand it to them they go into the store to get your TV. Of course they never return. This happened to someone I knew. They were approached in a bar. Unfortunately they fell for the scam and lost about $400. At the time big screen TVs were selling for around $1600. That low price would have made me pretty skeptical, but sometimes even a reasonable person could fall for a scam like this. I’ll say this one more time. Don’t trust strangers. You tell your children this all the time. So heed the advice that you give. If you do fall for a scam, report it. You might feel pretty dumb because you fell for it, but report it so that maybe the word will get out. If other people know this is happening, maybe they won’t fall for it and the thief will get caught.
Use common sense on the internet
Take care when on the internet. There are all kinds of scams that are perpetrated on the internet. There are scams in the form of a pop up that tells you that your computer has a virus and that you should download and pay for their software in order to remove the virus. Sometimes these programs are a virus themselves their only purpose is to mess up your computer. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to fix a friends computer because they clicked on one of these pop ups. In order to fix a problem like this the only solution could be to reformat the hard drive in order to remove the maleware that is loaded from the pop up. Unfortunately, at this point all computer files are wiped out. If you are faithful about backups, then you won’t lose your files. Otherwise, you will lose everything.
Don’t go to your online banking site through an email link
There are email phishing scams that will impersonate a bank or government agency. They can have very authentic looking emails and will try to direct you to a bogus site where they will try to get your password for your online banking account. Your bank will never ask you for your password. If your bank needs you to make a change, they will contact you through your online account in a secure manner. Not through email directly.
Don’t click on a pop up
Don’t click on things that pop up on your computer when you haven’t solicited it. Be cautious of those too good to be true offers that come your way. You’re lucky if no one has ever approached you trying to steal from you. Be careful about giving out your cell phone number online. You could end up with monthly charges of $20 or more for messaging services that you didn’t even know that you signed up for.
Remember when your parents told you that nothing is free in this world? They were right. If it sounds too good to be true, then it’s probably a hoax. If you do happen to get scammed, then tell someone about it. You might feel dumb being taken, but don’t let someone else fall victim. There are so many scams out there. Just don’t be too trusting especially if you don’t know the person or have not solicited a service.
The IRS has recently issued a warning. During and after tax time seems to be when scams become quite prolific. Beware of individuals who may contact you by phone, fax, or email. They may try to tell you that you are being audited or try to direct you to an internet site that looks legitimate. Remember that any government site ends in a .gov extension. Protect yourself by being aware that there are people out there that want to steal from you.