Nov 01, 2018

The history of fraud and scam is almost as long as the whole of human history. Regardless of the historical era and the nature of the available technology, scammers have always found innovative ways to trick people and earn money they didn’t deserve.

The scamming practices have only increased in the digital age with the spread of e-commerce and other associated practices. As a result of the sophistication of the scamming tricks and techniques, it’s extremely hard to know whether or not you’re being scammed. The solution? Well, there’s no single solution as such. But there are some individual signs that can ring alarm bells. And while we can never be truly sure we’re not being scammed, we can always be on the lookout for such signs. Here are some of these signs for your consideration:  

It’s an unbelievably good offer

Have you found the online deal of your dreams or did you stumble upon the product you always wanted being offered at a ridiculously low price? If the offer seems too good to be true, chances are that it really is. You may receive an email or a message saying you won a contest you never entered or you might have just won a prize that you didn’t really deserve.

The first thing you should do, when you receive such a call or a message, is to tread with caution. Don’t reply in any way before you can make sure whether it’s real or not. One helpful technique is to look for the offer online. If, for instance, you live in Arizona and you won a lottery, you can type in ‘Arizona lottery scam’ in the Google search.

Look for grammatical errors in the message

Online scam emails almost always have poor English grammar and spelling, unless the scam is a really sophisticated one. While it’s true that human beings can make errors and even certain official emails can contain a typo here and there, you have to look for the frequency of errors. No official email is filled with errors to the point that it’s barely readable.

We might think that poor grammar is a sign that the scammers aren’t particularly well-educated but that might not necessarily be the case. Often times, such messages are deliberately worded to look like that in order to filter out all the smart people, leaving only the most gullible ones that fall victim to the scam.

Scammers demand money

At one point or the other, a scammer will ask you for money. After all, that’s what they ultimately want. It can be a request for fees or an advance payment for the offer. You might have unexpectedly hit a jackpot but you would need to send them some money in advance to unlock the treasure.

As a general principle, never share your personal financial details online unless you’re completely certain that the offer is not a hoax. If possible, avoid online payments other than to some of the most reputable sources

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