As of August 2021, Americans had lost almost $30 billion to scam calls alone.¹ That’s up 200% from 2019.
The reason for the surge is simple—scammers are ruthlessly exploiting COVID-19 anxieties to steal your money.
You get a call. Caller ID confirms it’s a ‘legit’ organization. You answer. It’s a ‘charity’ raising money for the children of COVID-19 victims. For just $500, they’ll enter you into a raffle for an expenses paid outdoor adventure!
You’re a kind, empathetic person. What’s $500, after all? So you send them the wire transfer they very specifically requested.
And then… nothing. There was no raffle. There wasn’t even a charity. Just an old-fashioned huckster cashing in on a crisis, your ignorance, and your good nature.
But that doesn’t have to be you.
With the right knowledge, you can recognize scams from a mile away. You just have to know what to look for… and how to respond.
Here’s your complete guide to thwarting scam artists, fraudsters, charlatans, and hucksters!
Don’t trust, always verify. Is someone asking you for money? Do your homework first. It doesn’t matter how legitimate they seem.
If a phone number you don’t know calls you asking for money or information, Google search the number.
If an old friend DMs you asking for money, shoot them a call to check in.
If the prince of Zimbabwe emails you asking for $10,000, delete the email.
These simple steps can reveal to you the true identities of whoever is contacting you. It might be a legitimate business or a friend… or a scammer. Either way, do your research before you commit to helping anyone financially.
Watch for emotional manipulation. Scammers are masters of playing to your hopes and fears. They’ll dangle promises of wealth and opportunity in front of you in exchange for your information. They’ll also threaten you with utter disaster if you don’t give them what they want.
Legitimate businesses and organizations will rarely resort to these cheap tricks.
The state will not inform you that you won the powerball out of the blue.
The IRS will not threaten you with jail time over the phone.
If it seems too good—or too bad—to be true, it most likely is.
Never give information to unsolicited callers. If a cold caller starts asking for your debit card pin, your bank account information, or your social security number, say no.
Tell them you need more time to think things through.
Ask to meet in person.
If all else fails, hang up the phone.
Remember, your right to say no is your greatest line of defense. Exercise it with confidence. If someone asks for your information and you feel even a twinge of doubt, say no and don’t back down.
So the next time you get a suspicious DM or call, you know exactly what to do…
Verify their identity. Watch for emotional manipulation. Never give out your information.
Look at you! You’ve taken a step from being a sucker to being assertive. You’re not a victim anymore. You’re ready to build wealth without fear of scammers stealing what’s rightfully yours.
BONUS TIP: Credit cards offer top level fraud protection. If anyone asks for a wire transfer, sends you a check to sign, or wants cash, be on your guard!
¹ “Americans Have Already Lost $30 Billion to Scam Calls in 2021,” Jason Cohen, PCMag, Aug 6, 2021, https://www.pcmag.com/news/americans-have-already-lost-30-billion-to-scam-calls-in-2021