How to Spot and Avoid a Scam
- Does it seem too good to be true? What your parents told you is true so make sure to listen to your instinct. Something that may be overly cheap may wind up costing you a great deal in time and money.
- Is the email asking you to click a link to verify your account to prevent the account from being suspended or cancelled? If you are truly concerned, go directly to the website (or Google for it) or call the number on the back of a credit card or statement.
- Is the email asking you to respond with personal information (even if it doesn’t ask for obviously private information like account numbers, social security numbers, etc.)? Think foreign lotteries, Nigerian Princes, etc.
- Do they tell you not to worry about the contract, discourage you from reviewing it, fail to give you adequate time to review it, or hesitate if you ask about having it reviewed by an attorney?
- Does the offer have bad spelling or grammar? Many scams originate from outside of the U.S. where the email or letter is drafted by those who are not native speakers of English.
- Does the offer have or come from an address or phone number that does not match the company’s website?
- Does the email come from the public domain (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.)? This can be a warning sign, particularly if it does not match the referenced company or website.
- Can you make tons of money with little work (sometimes with visuals of boats, cars, and mansions)? I am talking about multi-level marketing (MLM) programs. While there are some legitimate businesses that use MLM, there are many scammers taking advantage of people looking to provide for their family or just make some extra income. While at one time MLM programs provided a way for companies and consumers to connect, the rise of big-box stores and the internet have made many of these programs obsolete (you can often find the same or similar products at a cheaper price and in a convenient and timely manner). Many programs now focus less on selling products and more on recruiting new people to buy into the program or otherwise work for them. While I certainly don’t want to dismiss the need or usefulness of all programs, you should look carefully before becoming involved as an MLM associate. Some warning signs:
- Having to buy into the program
- Having to buy marketing and advertising materials
- Having to pay to attend training seminars
Tools you can use to help identify a scam:
- Friends and Family–run the idea by a few people you trust and see what they think
If you you have been or think you have been the victim of a scam, you can contact The Gordon Law Firm and Brent can help you figure out the situation and help you take steps to protect your rights and limit any damage.