With our world going digital there’s so much more to look out for. It seems like every day in the news there’s a new scam to look out for. From investments, to online banking, online shopping to telemarketers you never really know who has your info. In this day and age you can never be too safe.
Here are some of the things to look out for and how you can protect yourself.
I can’t tell you how many times I hear about someone who put all their savings into a big investment that never paid off. The common factor in all these investment scams is high returns and little risk. Most of these places have unlicensed salesman getting a high commission for every deal they bring in. They will say anything to get your money. Beware every investment is a high risk investment.
In this case always ask if the person you’re talking with is licensed and how they get paid.
There are a lot of different types to look out for like
- Pyramid Schemes – where you can turn a small investment into a large profit in little to no time by using other people to buy in and you get there money. The only person benefiting from this is the one on the top of the pyramid.
- Advance fee fraud – where you can fix a past investment mistake by buying stock but in order to go thru with it you most send them money first
- Ponzi schemes- this is where your money goes to pay off the earlier investors.
- Affinity Schemes– this is a person who pretends to be a part of a well-known group, to gain your trust and get your money.
Always research what you are buying into. Look up the company and the person’s name who is trying to sell you.
Internet scams come in a verity of forms from work at home, to online love of your life, to online purchases. Remember money doesn’t come to you for free. If they say make quick cash now and ask for your bank account say NO! Never give your bank account to anyone you don’t know.
This is a big one. Now days with everything online and paperless it’s too easy to fall prey to this. Here are a few ways to save yourself from this one
- Never write down passwords
- Never let your children give out your address and personal info
- Never give out your social security number
- If you have to pay online pay the seller directly or use PayPal
Natural Disaster scams
When you’re going through a natural disaster all of a sudden you get calls from everyone to help you. When we had a garage fire you will be shocked how many people claim that they would help us. When all they were really doing was looking to cash in on someone who was stressed out and not thinking right at the moment.
Check out all potential contractors and companies through the better business bureau.
Financial Adviser Scams
This one is a big one that people don’t even realize until it’s too late. Remember Bernie Madoff everyone trusted that their money was safe because he was one of the best FA’s around, that’s what he want them to believe.
If you have a Financial Advisor who tells you not to use a 3rd party like Schwab, change financial advisors right away. This is a huge red flag. You never want just one person in charge of your money.
The best way to avoid this scam is check out every Financial advisor’s background at National Ethics Bureau at EthicsCheck.com and with the SEC before you do business with them.
Always know where your money is. Don’t just look at your statement but know what you own.
The seniors are an easy target for any scam artist. This is because they have a lifetime of hard earned money (retirement) and they love the idea of making more money to leave behind for their family.
Anytime someone asks you so send money for the taxes on a prize that you’ve won before you get it don’t do it. This is the number one way to get a senior citizens money. My grandma was told you won a free trip for 2 to Hawaii we just need your bank info for the $500.00 and you’re good to go. Lucky for her she knew never give anyone money without knowing them first.
If you ever run into this always notify the police right away and tell all your friends that are senior citizens as well.
This one happens so often it’s scary. The scammer will seek out vacant homes and then place ads for a way cheaper rent, so you feel you are getting a deal. They will ask you for a money order or cash and first and last month’s rent. Before you know it your money is gone and either a real estate agent shows up to sell the home or a police officer tells you to vacate the home you just rented.
Always make sure you know the person you’re renting from. Look them up, know there address, and never deal with someone only through email or only over the phone.
If the house has a for sale sign and no for rent sign don’t do it. Other things to watch out for are if the lock box is broken. These are big red flags. Also talk to the neighbors and be sure they know who the owner of the house is that you’re considering renting.
Bottom line is always do your research and know where and who your money is going to. Never just go on someone’s word. This is your hard earned money and nothing comes to you for free. Take the time to know what you are getting into before you do it.