There are many ways for scammers to get at your money, but whether scams come through phone call, email, online listing, website or even someone showing up at your front door there are a few things that should send up red flags when dealing with someone that wants your money:
Red Flag #1: They ask for immediate money – Putting you on the spot is a widely used scam tactic that makes scam victims feel rushed into making the decision to send their money away. STOP and THINK before sending money to anyone, even someone claiming to be the IRS. The IRS will always send you a bill in the mail for taxes owed before calling to ask for payment, and they will never ask for any type of card payment over the phone.
Red Flag #2: Pre-paid money cards – These are one of the easiest ways for scammers to get hold of your money. As soon as you send the card number to the person on the other end that money is basically in their hands. If you’re looking at an online offer that asks you to send money up front using a MoneyPak or other loadable money card it’s probably best to look at another listing for the item you want, or request another form of payment.
Red Flag #3: Promising get rich quick – In reality, getting rich quick is a pipe dream. It’s only the scammers that make the money, and often times it doesn’t even work out well for them because they end up in jail. If there is an offer that sounds too good to be true, says you’re going to get millions of dollars for a one-time payment or looks like a seedy investment deal it is probably a scam and it’s best to ignore and trash it.
Red Flag #4: Offer expires quickly – Many things in today’s world do happen fast, but don’t be fooled into sending your money away without having a chance to get outside advice or check out the source. It’s better to let the offer expire than to fall victim to a scam.
Red Flag #5: Includes unreasonable actions – Recently, there was a scam that involved big ticket items on ebay where the scam artist would ask for money card numbers saying they would be escrowed so they could send an item like a horse trailer or car hundreds of miles so the “buyer” could see it before releasing the money. It may have sounded legit except for the cost that would be incurred by the “seller” for shipping a trailer that long of a distance (plus the money cards). Be on guard for anything that includes abnormal actions such as that.