Scam Alert – 5 Tips on How to Spot a Scam

by Alli

There’s always some sort of new scam working it’s way across cyberspace.   As a blogger, I have to pay close attention because I’m constantly getting emails from people wanting to buy all of the ads on my page or wanting me to review their product or join their network or just trying to scam me!  Some emails are legit and many are not!  And that’s when the thought entered my mind to write a post entitled Scam Alert!

My mama always taught me that “If it looks too good to be true, it probably is,” and I always err on the side of caution when dealing with people I don’t know.

But what really surprised me was the extremely large number of people who are scammed because they are just too trusting, gullible or both.  So I decided to help by exposing some scams I’ve seen lately.

Crystal Light, Heineken & Red Bull Adverts

A few weeks ago I received an email from someone claiming to be Crystal Light’s Head of Advertising.  It was very professional looking and, of course, they loved my blog and wanted me to have my car wrapped in an advert for Crystal Light for 12 weeks.  I would be paid $500.00 every two weeks for a total of $3,000.00.  The first payment would include a check made out to me for $1,900.00 and delivered by priority mail.  I would deposit it into my bank account, keep $500.00 (for my first two weeks) and send $1,400.00 to the graphic artist to wrap my car.

The Scam:  They want you to deposit the check and wire the money to the “graphic artist.”  Then the check bounces and you are out $1,400.00.

When I heard the entire pitch (here a little, there a little, email by email, as I strung them along) I actually asked him (or her) if they thought I was a complete idiot.  Got ya, you scammer, you!   That was the end of our conversations.  But when I Googled the scam, I was heartbroken to read reports of people who had lost thousands of dollars to those bozos!

Publishers Clearinghouse

OK, this one is so funny that I can’t believe for one moment that anyone would get suckered into it.  My husband received a call on his cell the other day and he answered without checking the caller ID.  A woman, with a weird accent, said, “Mr. Smith, you have won 4.5 million dollars from Publishers Clearinghouse!  We are on the way to your house.  We are 40 minutes away!  Can you be home in 40 minutes to claim your prize?  You just have to do one thing before claiming your prize.  You must pay 1% of the 4.5 million in order to claim your prize.”  I bet the real Publishers Clearinghouse hates this scam, too.

It’s sad that so many people fall for that nonsense!

Auto Trader/Craig’s List

Daughter #3 and her boyfriend are into kayaking and the boyfriend is looking for an older Jeep Wrangler to haul the kayaks they are planning on purchasing.  After looking through Auto Trader, he found a great deal in Athens, Ga (Go Dawgs) and it’s only about 4 hours away, so he called to see if it was available and when he could see the car.

The guy (posing as a military guy) said he had just been transferred and to see the car, my daughter’s boyfriend would have to send a large deposit to an exchange company and the Jeep would be shipped to his door so that he could test drive it.  Yeah, Uh Huh!  I have some prime swamp land in Florida . . .

Daughter #2 found a great deal on a camper on Craig’s List.  Yep, it was too good to be true and another scam!

And the list of scams go on and on and on! And scammers are getting more sophisticated.  Here’s some tips on spotting a scam from a mile away!

5 Tips On How to Spot a Scam

Scam Alert

1.  There is usually something a little “off”  about the email or the phone call.

Usually some of the wording is off.   That’s a red flag!  Some words in the Crystal Light email that should have been plural were not and some of the words were not used in the correct context.  I knew whoever was writing the email did not have a complete grasp of the English language.

2.  You are required to send money!

Legitimate companies that are giving you a prize will never, ever, ever, ever ask for money!  Remember:  you are winning the prize, not them!  Money is always involved in a scam!  Your money headed to their pocket!  You should never have to pay money to win a prize or to advertise for someone.

3.  If someone tells you that you have the winning ticket and you didn’t buy a ticket, it’s a scam!

4.  Never give out your credit card information or any personal information based on an email or phone call!

The scammer is trying to steal your money and/or your identity!

5.  There’s a sense of urgency!  Yeah, they want your money before you have time to realize that it’s a scam!

Always remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

Have you ever been scammed?  Do share!  The more aware we become of scammers, the less money they can steal!