Spot the Scammer
I am sure that you all have won numerous lotteries, been asked to help with dozens of investments, and been told by banks that your account is suspended (even though you don’t have an account with them). If you fall for these schemes, then I reckon you must have just gotten email for the first time.
A scam is usually something that is too good to be true but looks real enough to fool us. Most of us don’t fall for email scams, we are savvy to them. We veterans of cyberspace aren’t fooled so easily, yet scams still abound. Some are not so easy to spot though, email scams give us time to think, but we are scammed every day in many ways because we are simply pushed too quickly.
A scam doesn’t need to be a big bucks con, legit businesses will even try to scam you just a little bit in order to get your business, politicians will try to scam you a LOT in order to get your vote, it seems that the wheels of capitalism are greased with a little scamming.
Time to wise up I think. I got a call yesterday, and I knew it was a scam even though it appeared legit up until the moment we said goodbye, Google confirmed my suspicion. How did I spot the scam? Well first of all it was directed at a soft spot (money is always a soft spot) and second, I was pushed to make a very fast decision and was met with resistance when I put the brakes on. Now, not everything you experience in this way will be a scam, but if someone wants you to make a decision NOW they are not really thinking about your best interests.
There are two types of people you do not want to do business with: a con artist, and the person who doesn’t have your best interests at heart. Here is how I weed them out; it’s all about how they respond. When pushed to make a decision I reply, “If you want me to answer right now, then the answer is no. If you give me time to think about it, then the answer may be yes.” If they get aggressive and pushy, it is your cue to back off, simply state, “Well then, the answer has to be no.” If they give you time to think about it and you go and do your homework and you STILL fall for the con, then shame on you. How would someone still fall for a scam after all this? Well, if you make an emotional decision, a decision based on fear, then the chances are that you won’t see what you need to see. This happens all the time in relationships, we are afraid to be alone so we fall for it every time. The promise to change is usually a scam.
In a world where we are expected to cough up first and get the product later, it is easy to get scammed. I don’t think it is unreasonable to ask for a show of good faith first. Sure, most companies won’t do that, but do you want to do business with a company that is more interested in your money than you as a client?
Another reason we fall for scams so easily is that we want it all now. We cannot stand having to wait for something, so we will pay up quickly and without much thought. So desperate are we for what is being promised that we don’t bother to do our homework, living under the false notion that “It will never happen to me”.
I suppose the core of this is that if you are not able to slow down and think, or are not given that option, then tread very carefully. Someone who is rushing you is often someone with something to hide.