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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 September 12, 2019

        12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

        12 Things You Should Remember When Feeling Lost in Life

        Even the most charismatic people you know, whether in person or celebrities of some sort, experience days where they feel lost in life and isolated from everyone else.

        While it’s good to know we aren’t alone in this feeling, the question still remains:

        What should we do when we feel lost and lonely?

        Here are 12 things to remember:

        1. Recognize That It’s Okay!

        The truth is, there are times you need to be alone. If you’ve always been accustomed to being in contact with people, this may prove difficult.

        However, learning how to be alone and comfortable in your own skin will give you confidence and a sense of self reliance.

        We cheat ourselves out of the opportunity to become self reliant when we look for constant companionship.

        Learn how to embrace your me time: What Your Fear of Being Alone Is Really About and How to Get over It

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        2. Use Your Lost and Loneliness as a Self-Directing Guide

        You’ve most likely heard the expression: “You have to know where you’ve been to know where you’re going.”

        Loneliness also serves as a life signal to indicate you’re in search of something. It’s when we’re in the midst of solitude that answers come from true soul searching.

        Remember, there is more to life than what you’re feeling.

        3. Realize Loneliness Helps You Face the Truth

        Being in the constant company of others, although comforting sometimes, can often serve as a distraction when we need to face the reality of a situation.

        Solitude cuts straight to the chase and forces you to deal with the problem at hand. See it as a blessing that can serve as a catalyst to set things right!

        4. Be Aware That You Have More Control Than You Think

        Typically, when we see ourselves as being lost or lonely, it gives us an excuse to view everything we come in contact with in a negative light. It lends itself to putting ourselves in the victim mode, when the truth of the matter is that you choose your attitude in every situation.

        No one can force a feeling upon you! It is YOU who has the ultimate say as to how you choose to react.

        5. Embrace the Freedom That the Feeling of Being Alone Can Offer

        Instead of wallowing in self pity, which many are prone to do because of loneliness, try looking at your circumstance as a new-found freedom.

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        Most people are in constant need of approval of their viewpoints. Try enjoying the fact that  you don’t need everyone you care about to support your decisions.

        6. Acknowledge the Person You Are Now

        Perhaps you feel a sense of loneliness and confusion because your life circumstances have taken you away from the persona that others know to be you.

        Perhaps the new you differs radically from the old. Realize that life is about change and how we react to that change. It’s okay that you’re not who you used to be.

        Take a look at this article and learn to accept your imperfect self: Accept Yourself (Flaws and All): 7 Benefits of Being Vulnerable

        7. Keep Striving to Do Your Best

        Often those who are feeling isolated and unto themselves will develop a defeatist attitude. They’ll do substandard work because their self esteem is low and they don’t care.

        Never let this feeling take away your sense of worth! Do your best always and when you come through this dark time, others will admire how you stayed determined in spite of the obstacles you had to overcome.

        And to live your best life, you must do this ONE thing: step out of your comfort zone.

        8. Don’t Forget That Time Is Precious

        When we’re lost in a sea of loneliness and depression, it’s all too easy to reflect on regrets of past life events. This does nothing but feed negativity and perpetuate the situation.

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        Instead of falling prey to this common pitfall, put one foot in front of the other and acknowledge every positive step you take. By doing this, you can celebrate the struggles you overcome at the end of the day.

        9. Remember, Things Happen for a Reason

        Every circumstance we encounter in our life is designed to teach us and that lesson is in turn passed on to others.

        Sometimes we’re fortunate enough to figure out the lesson to be learned, while other times, we simply need to have faith that if the lesson wasn’t meant directly for us to learn from, how we handled it was observed by someone who needed to learn.

        Your solitude and feeling of lost, in this instance, although painful possibly, may be teaching someone else.

        10. Journal During This Time

        Record your thoughts when you’re at the height of loneliness and feeling lost. You’ll be amazed when you reflect back at how you viewed things at the time and how far you’ve come later.

        This time (if recorded) can give you a keen insight into who you are and what makes you feel the way you feel.

        11. Remember You Aren’t the First to Feel This Way

        It’s quite common to feel as if we’re alone and no one else has ever felt this way before. We think this because at the time of our distress, we’re silently observing others around us who are seemingly fine in every way.

        The truth is, we can’t possibly know the struggles of those around us unless they elect to share them. We ALL have known this pain!

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        Try confiding in someone you trust and ask them how they deal with these feelings when they experienced it. You may be surprised at what you learn.

        12. Ask for Help If the Problem Persists

        The feeling of being lost and lonely is common to everyone, but typically it will last for a relatively short period of time.

        Most people will confess to, at one time or another, being in a “funk.” But if the problem persists longer than you feel it should, don’t ignore it.

        When your ability to reason and consider things rationally becomes impaired, do not poo poo the problem away and think it isn’t worthy of attention. Seek medical help.

        Afraid to ask for help? Here’s how to change your outlook to aim high!

        Final Thoughts

        Loneliness and a sense of feeling lost can in many ways be extremely painful and difficult to deal with at best. However, these feelings can also serve as a catalyst for change in our lives if we acknowledge them and act.

        Above anything, cherish your mental well being and don’t underestimate its worth. Seek professional guidance if you’re unable to distinguish between a sense of freedom for yourself and a sense of despair.

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        Featured photo credit: Andrew Neel via unsplash.com

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