Tips to avoiding scams
Rule #1 – the old adage if it’s too good to be true it probably is. Whether buying or selling by phone or internet caution and skepticism should be the overriding factor in your side of the transaction.
Tips to avoiding scams and fraud
Recently, two clients of mine were scammed. The first client nearly went through with the scam but thankfully they called me first to review the transaction (a sale of a timeshare where the buyer offered more than it was worth and asked only for the seller to split title fees by wiring funds). The second unfortunately did go through, and the client informed me of a $900 loss through a paypal/western union type of scam.
Some things to keep in mind to avoid scams like this are:
- Deal locally with people you can meet in person (Following this rule will help you avoid 99% of scams).
- NEVER EVER EVER wire funds via western union, moneygram, or any other service. Anyone who requests this type of payment is a scammer.
- Do not accept cashiers checks or money orders. Banks will cash them and then hold you responsible when the fake is discovered weeks later.
- Never give out financial information. (i.e. bank account number, social security number, eBay/PayPal information, etc)
- Avoid deals involving shipping or escrow services and know that only a scammer will “guarantee” a transaction.
- Do not rent housing without seeing the interior, or purchase expensive items sight-unseen. In all likelihood, the housing unit is not actually for rent and that cheap item does not exist.
- Do not submit credit checks or background checks for a job or for a housing unit until you have met the interviewer or landlord/agent person.
If it’s too late
Following these simple rules will help you avoid most scams today. However, if you should fall into one of these scams, make sure you follow one of the following links to the relevant help:
FTC toll free hotline: 877-FTC-HELP (877-382-4357)
Internet Fraud Complaint Center
FTC Video: How to report scams to the FTC
FTC online complaint form
Consumer Sentinel/Military (for reports from services members or their families)
SIIA Software and Content Piracy reporting
If you are scammed by someone that you happened to meet in person, immediately contact your local police department.
Clients please remember as my first client did – you can call me anytime for guidance on financial transactions. A quick call may save hundreds or thousands in heartache!