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6 Most Common Scams People Fall For and How to Avoid Them

6 Most Common Scams People Fall For and How to Avoid Them

We live in a great time of progress, leaps in technology and nearly unlimited access to free information, but the world doesn’t just stop being a dangerous place overnight. While curiosity, inventiveness, love and the urge to learn and create are big parts of human nature, so too are deceit, deception, greed and the desire to attain wealth without hard work. This is why there are a great number of con artists, scammers and smart thieves who are ready to take advantage of people’s gullibility, trusting nature and compassion.

You are not only at risk during holidays abroad–scammers can try to take advantage of you online, on the street and at your very own doorstep. It is important to learn about the common ploys used by these immoral individuals so that you can stay safe. What follows is a more detailed look at the biggest scams people usually fall for and tips on avoiding them.

1. Doorstep scams

Salesman at the door

    These include any scam where the con artist strikes when you are most relaxed and vulnerable–at home. They will often look for senior citizens and try to peddle cheap and fairly worthless items for an overblown price, and will come across as nice people looking to get rid of some quality products. Some may try to sell home maintenance services, while others will claim to be a city official who has come to perform tests or even try to get your private information by saying that they are there to do a survey.

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    Luckily doorstop scams can be easily thwarted. You just need to be cautious and ask to see official papers and identification. Make sure that you have a sturdy front door with a reinforced frame and preferably a door viewer, so that no one can just barge in by force.

    2. Online dating/internet bride scams

    There are plenty of people willing to get married for a green card, but they usually offer some form of monetary incentive for their would-be husband or wife. With dating scams it is a bit different. Everything seems to be going well for a week or two, but for some reason you can never meet in person. Then suddenly there is a crisis, or even several problems, that require a large sum of money for the person to get out of their strangely suspicious predicament.

    Women from third world countries will also start dating online and quickly start negotiating for a payment so they can come to the U.S. or another first world country so they can be close, and even marry their mark. Once the money is “loaned” they simply disappear. The best protection is to be very cautious, especially if you are a middle-aged man or woman and contacted by a young hottie in some sort of a financial bind.

    There are plenty of legit dating websites where you can meet people close to where you live and you can check them out on Facebook or meet in person.

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    3. Get-rich-quick phone and email scams

    Free cash

      The old Nigerian Prince email scam has now become such a cliché that even comics have stopped putting it in their jokes. However, people can get quite creative with their “good investment offers”. It’s usually someone who knows of a hole in the system or has a good investment tip, but lacks that capital to make any serious money out of it and needs the help of several other investors. While most modern con artists use email, some like to get personal and call your home.

      Random raffles and lotteries you haven’t even heard off will ask for some information or a small administrative fee so that they can send you your winnings. It is said that you can’t con someone who is not greedy, so being realistic and not looking for a way to make quick buck without breaking a sweat is a good way to stay out of trouble. You should be incredibly suspicious of deals that sound too good to be true, and should do your research on some of the most notorious scammers.

      4. Charity and sob story scams

      This type of scam is the most appalling, as it preys on kind and generous people who would have made a contribution to a worthwhile cause if not for the scammers. These come in many different forms, from people asking money for their child’s operation on the street, to very formal and polite people stopping you on the street, or coming to your door, and asking for a donation.

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      You can give a few bucks to a homeless person if you like, but avoid those asking you for money openly and aggressively, with a complex tear-jerking story prepared are best avoided. You can always make a donation to a good verified charity of your choice on your own terms and in the comfort of your own home.

      5. Airport security scam

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        Frequent travelers should be very cautious and keep a close eye on their luggage, as there are plenty of fast thieves who can just grab your luggage and run. They work in teams where one person will rush to get in front of you in line and set off the metal detector, fumbling around while his associate covertly snaps up your stuff from the conveyor belt–but there are even more sinister things to look out for.

        Connecting to a public Wi-Fi network or using Bluetooth in airports can result in your phone being hacked. It’s best to avoid using the public Wi-Fi altogether, or you can use a VPN on your laptop for added security.

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        6. Taxi with “broken” meter or driver who advises you to go to a different hotel

        Taxi drivers in front of the airport will say that their meter is broken and overcharge you, or tell you that the hotel you want to go to is overbooked due to an event or undergoing renovations and take you to some overpriced dump. He has a deal with the dump to get a cut every time he brings in a customer. Some drivers will drive you around the city, taking the scenic route, just to bump up the fare. Some go even further and conspire with someone working at the airport.

        You are greeted by a taxi driver holding up a sign with your name on it, and says that the hotel sent him to get you, and then stops half way asking for an obscene amount of money to drive you where you need to go or leave you stranded. In some cases they will just flat-out rob you, and there have been documented cases of kidnappings, particularly in South American countries. You should do some Google maps research to find direct routes form the airport and tell the driver which path to take, insist on going to your address and never get into a car with someone you haven’t called for who wants to take you somewhere. Have small bills on you so that they can’t cheat you out of change, and look for outdated currencies being given as change. If the meter doesn’t work, take another cab and be very assertive.

        It is easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when you go through most of your life without being cheated out of your money or robbed. You start trusting people, and why shouldn’t you? Most people you meet are at least civil, while some are generous and kind, and very few are the annoying or violent type, and the latter can be spotted a mile away.

        If you haven’t dealt with morally corrupt people who will pretend to be nice, helpful or in need of help only to trick you, then it’s difficult to spot a scam coming. Thankfully, there is plenty of information available about the common scams available, and I hope this article has given you a basic idea of what to look for and how to stay safe.

        Featured photo credit: Angry con artist throwing monte (with suckers) tells me off for stealing his photons, Brick Lane, London, UK 2.JPG/Cory Doctorow via flickr.com

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        Ivan Dimitrijevic

        Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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        Last Updated on November 5, 2019

        12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

        12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

        Formal education is something everyone has to go through to a certain degree, and the knowledge it offers isn’t always that practical in real life. Life long learning is how you improve as a person, bit by bit and day by day.

        Life long learners recognize the importance and joy of growth so they never settle for what they currently know and always seek for improvement.

        Here are 12 habits of people who value lifelong learning have in common – see how many of them you recognize in yourself.

        1. They Read on a Daily Basis

        Whatever problem or dilemma you currently face, there’s definitely at least one decent book that discusses it and presents a variety of solutions.

        Reading is a great way to open up new horizons, train your brain and revolutionize your life. I can’t even count how many times books completely transformed the way I view the world, and it’s always a change for the better. Through reading, you can connect with successful people and learn from the lessons they share.

        Life long learners love to get lost in books and do it regularly. Bill Gates knows that reading matters a lot; on his personal blog, he reviews plenty of game-changing books.

        Due to technology, you can access a bookshelf of the wealthiest entrepreneur on this planet.

        2. They Attend Various Courses

        Whether it’s online or offline, there are countless courses you can participate in without spending a dime on it. These are great opportunities to connect with clever and like-minded people and learn from them.

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        Because of the advanced technology, you can now gain knowledge from online programs, starting from coding through self-improvement to programs from top universities.

        There are literally endless ways to thrive. What life long learners have in common is squeezing as much as possible out of these opportunities.

        3. They Actively Seek Opportunities to Grow

        Instead of spending your free time laying on the couch and watching TV, you prefer doing something creative and practical. You know every wasted minute is gone forever.

        That’s why you’d rather practice your language skills with a native-speaker you’ve met, engage in local meet up or attend a class that teaches something you always wanted to learn.

        Life long learners stay up-to-date with growth opportunities in their areas and participate in them frequently.

        4. They Take Care of Their Bodies

        “Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” — John F. Kennedy

        A clever mind combined with a body in a great condition is the best asset you can have. Our bodies were designed to run, walk, jump, swim, lift and much more. Leading a sedentary lifestyle harms both your physical and mental sphere.

        Life long learners know the body is your temple. In order to make it flourish for as long as possible, they train regularly, move a lot and eat healthy.

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        5. They Have Diverse Passions

        Among Steve Jobs’ wise quotes, there’s one I like especially. It’s about connecting the dots:

        “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs

        Each dot is some event or skill in your life, and it’s only when you go through these elements that you know how to combine them into something great.

        Having a variety of passions indicates that you love to progress. By practicing different skills, you give yourself an advantage over the rest of the people. During hard times, you are more likely to to act intelligently and solve your problems with less effort.

        6. They Love Making Progress

        If behind the efforts, there is passion and a deep desire to grow, your chances of success are way higher, compared to when you are forced to learn.

        Life long learners love to experience the constant growth and improvement. The breakthrough moments help them to notice the impressive change that took place because of the learning process. Any milestone serves as a driving force for further headway.

        7. They Challenge Themselves with Specific Goals

        In order to keep growing, you clearly define your goals. Smart goal setting is one of the tools to ensure constant growth.

        Since you love challenges, a difficult goal doesn’t scare you. Quite the opposite, it keeps you motivated and engaged.

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        Research showed that precise and ambitious goals increase the performance of an individual. As we already agreed, life long learners are people who care about their performance, hence they never stop improving.

        8. They Embrace Change

        A complete change can lead to incredible results. This is especially visible on the example of successful companies.

        Oftentimes, it’s that transformation which created space for their so-called overnight success. Twitter was originally created as an internal service to serve Odeo employees. Currently, it has over 300 million monthly active users and is considered the second biggest social network.

        As a life long learner, you know a change can lead to extraordinary results so you welcome it and stay open minded about making a shift.

        9. They Believe It’s Never Too Late to Start Something

        Some people tend to think after a certain age, they are no longer allowed to start something and become successful. The truth is, it’s just a lame excuse not to leave the comfort zone.

        Opposite to common misconceptions, there’s no wrong age to begin something. Henry Ford was 45 when he invented the Ford Model T car, which is considered as the first affordable automobile.

        Sure, for some domains like becoming a professional athlete, starting early is required. However, to learn and improve for its own sake, you are never too old.

        10. Their Attitude to Getting Better Is Contagious

        “We now accept the fact that learning is a life long process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” — Peter Drucker

        There’s nothing better than to see your surroundings getting involved in what you actively participate in. Oftentimes, the best way to achieve that is to inspire them and be the example. As Gandhi would say, you need to be the change you want to see in the world.

        As a life long learner, you are extremely passionate about the constant growth and people around you can sense that positive attitude. As a result, they start acting similarly.

        11. They Leave Their Comfort Zone

        Is it really better to step out of your comfort zone? The answer is always yes.

        You always embrace discomfort as you know the path to success leads through hardship and countless obstacles. Instead of being afraid of facing them, you challenge yourself to overcome more and more difficult handicaps.

        Every time you get out of your comfort zone, regardless whether you win or fail, you learn something new. That’s the part you love the most!

        12. They Never Settle Down

        “Knowledge is exploding, so you need to commit yourself to a plan for life long learning.” — Don Tapscott

        A sense of being clever enough is something you don’t experience. Without a doubt, you appreciate what you already know, but that’s never a reason to stop. You just know once you stop learning, you lose the amazing privilege humans have, namely an ability to a never-ending intellectual development.

        More About Lifelong Learning

        Featured photo credit: Christin Hume via unsplash.com

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