Top 10 Signs You Are Being Scammed: How to Avoid Being "taken"
- You have won a lottery that you never entered or purchased a ticket for. These usually will claim that you have won some enormous amount of money, all you have to do is send money to cover the processing of the payment. If you never bought a ticket or entered the sweepstakes, how and why did you win?
The transaction involves you sending money by Western Union. Some rich Nigerian great-cousin-twice-removed has left you money and all you have to do is wire the law firm money to cover the legal fees: once you wire them the money, you will never hear from them again.
The prize seems too good to be true. You know the old adage, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Always be suspicious of anyone who promises you the world in return for little to nothing on your part.
There is a time constraint. If you have to act now to take advantage of an offer, if there isn’t time for you to do your homework and research what is being offered, there’s a reason for it.
You have to provide personal information. If they are asking for bank account information, social security numbers, mother’s maiden name, etc., it’s probably a scam. (Don’t give the information!)
The email address for the organization is from a free provider (i.e. yahoo or hotmail). These accounts are easily created and closed with very little required information.
You are not able to find anything about a company when Googled. If the company hasn’t been around enough to have an Internet presence, don’t put any trust in them. A real company will have a listing (not necessarily a paid one, however) with the Better Business Bureau and they will have a Yellow Page listing.
You get a call from your credit card company wanting to "verify information" like your expiration date or 3-digit verification code. Offer instead to call your company back using the 800-number on the back of your card; never verify information to an unsolicited caller.
You receive an email from an organization with whom you have an account saying you need to click through from that email to verify something on your account. Always go straight to the Website and then go to your account, never click through from an email–if it’s PayPal, eBay or your bank, always go straight to the account to check for a problem.
You get a phone solicitation from someone unwilling to send you written information about the product/offer/prize. If they can’t send you information in writing about what they are selling or what you have won, chances are it’s an illegitimate offer.
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