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

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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.

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        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 January 24, 2022

        21 Best Tips On Making A Long Distance Relationship Work

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        21 Best Tips On Making A Long Distance Relationship Work

        Having texting and video conferencing at our fingertips, it appears that maintaining a long-distance relationship is easier than ever. Long-distance calls are no longer a luxury; the days when they needed to be rationed are long gone.

        Long-distance couples do not have to depend on 3 p.m. postal delivery, waiting for news that is at best four days old.

        Now we’re no longer even in the days of waiting for our loved ones to check their e-mail when they get home from work. Instant messaging keeps us hooked to each other even when we are out shopping, working, playing, watching a movie and doing much more.

        Technology, however, cannot compensate for everything in a long-distance relationship, as anyone with a long-distance relationship will tell you.

        Many long-distance relationships still seem emotionally difficult despite the lack of regular physical proximity.

        People often think long-distance relationships will never work. It may be discouraged by your family, and some of your best friends may tell you not to take it too seriously in case you end up heartbroken.

        Many things are not possible due to the extra distance – no one can promise it will be easy. Things could get complicated, and you might feel lonely and sad at times.

        Still, many of us try them.

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        However, the extra distance also makes the simplest things the sweetest. Being able to hold the other person’s hand, eating together at the same table, feeling each other’s touch, taking a walk together, smelling each other’s hair… these small wishes could suddenly mean so much more in a long-distance relationship.

        Long-distance relationships may be tough, but they have their own surprises too.

        Here’re 21 tips on how to make a long distance relationship work:

        1. Avoid excessive communication.

        It is unwise to be overly “sticky” and possessive. You two don’t really have to communicate 12 hours a day to keep the relationship going. Many couples think that they need to compensate for the distance by doing more. This is not true. And it might only make things worse. Soon you would get tired of “loving.”

        Remember: Less is more. It is not about spamming — you are only going to exhaust yourselves. It’s really about teasing at the right moments and tugging at the right spots.

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        2. See it as an opportunity.

        “If you want to live together, you first need to learn how to live apart.” – Anonymous

        View it as a learning journey for both of you. This is an opportunity for you to prove your love for one another. According to a Chinese proverb, “Real gold is not afraid of the test of fire.” Instead of thinking that this long-distance relationship is pulling you two apart, you should believe that through this experience, the both of you will be bound together even stronger.

        As Emma says it to Will in season four of Glee,

        “I would rather be here, far from you, but feeling really close, rather than close to you but feeling really far away.” – Emma, Glee Season 4

        3. Set some ground rules to manage your expectations.

        Both of you need to be clear with what you expect of each other during this long-distance relationship. Set some ground rules so that none of you will do things that will take the other party by surprise.

        For instance, are you two exclusive? Is it all right for the other person to go on dates? What is your commitment level? It’s better to be open with each other about all these things.

        4. Try to communicate regularly, and creatively.

        Greet each other “good morning” and “good night” every day — this is a must. On top of that, try to update your partner on your life and its happenings, however mundane some of the things may seem.

        To up the game, send each other pictures, audio clips, and short videos from time to time. By putting in this kind of effort, you make the other person feel loved and attended to.

        5. Talk dirty with each other.

        Sexual tension is undoubtedly one of the most important things between couples. In a way, sexual desire is like the glue that keeps both parties from drifting apart. Sexual need is not only biological but also emotional.

        Keep the flames burning by sending each other teasing texts filled with sexual innuendos and provocative descriptions. Sexy puns work pretty well too.

        6. Avoid “dangerous” situations.

        If you already know that going to the club or going drinking with your group of friends late at night will displease your partner, then you should either 1. Not do it or 2. Tell your partner beforehand to reassure them.

        You should not let this sort of thing slip by because it will only make your partner extra worried or suspicious – and of course, very upset because they will feel powerless or lack control over the situation.

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        You can fall victim to your traps by going out with eye candy from work after work or dating someone from your past who has been flirting with you without realizing it. Before entering a dangerous situation, you need to recognize the dangers.

        Listen to your heart, but don’t just rely on it. Make sure you also listen to your mind.

        7. Do things together.

        Play a game online together. Watch a documentary at the same time on YouTube or Vimeo. Share a song on Skype while another plays the guitar. Video-call each other and go for a walk together. Together, go online shopping – and buy each other gifts (see #13).

        You really have to be creative and spontaneous about it.

        8. Do similar things.

        Recommend books, TV shows, movies, music, news and etc., to each other. When you read, watch and listen to the same things, you get to have more topics in common to talk about.

        Even if you live apart, it’s nice to have some shared experiences.

        9. Make visits to each other.

        Every long-distance relationship is enriched by visits.

        After all the waiting and yearning and abstinence, you finally get to meet each other to fulfil all the little things like kissing, holding hands, etc. These are typical for couples in long-distance relationships but more special and intimate for long-distance couples.

        The atmosphere will be filled with fireworks, glitter bombs, confetti, rainbows, and butterflies.

        10. Have a goal in mind.

        Are we going to be apart for a long time?” “what about the future?” These are the questions you should ask yourselves.

        In fact, a couple cannot stay in a long-distance relationship forever. Eventually, we all need to settle down.

        So make a plan with each other. Set up a timeline, mark down the estimated times apart and times together, and draw an end goal.

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        It is important that you two are on the same page and have the same goals. So that even if you are not living in the same space and the same timezone, both of you are still motivated to work together in the same direction towards a future that includes one another.

        That’s right, you need some motivation to make a relationship last too. Find out more about what motivates you here.

        11. Enjoy your alone time and your time with your friends and family.

        You are alone, but you are not lonely unless you choose to feel like it. You don’t have to let your world revolve around your partner — you still have you, your friends, and your family. Take this time apart to do more with your friends and family. Go to the gym more often. Get a new hobby. Binge-watch shows. There are plenty of things for you to do that don’t involve your partner.

        12. Stay honest with each other.

        Talk about your feelings of fear, insecurity, jealousy, apathy, whatsoever. If you try to hide anything from your partner, that secret will sooner or later swallow you up from the inside out. Don’t try to deal with things all by yourself. Be open and honest with each other. Let your partner help you and give you the support you need. It’s better to look at the problem during its initial stage than to only disclose it when it’s all too late.

        13. Know each other’s schedules.

        It’s helpful to know when the other person is busy and free. So that you can drop a text or make a call at the right time. You wouldn’t want to disturb your partner when they are in the middle of class or halfway through a business meeting. Make sure you are aware of everyone’s small and big events in their lives, i.e., college midterms and exams, important business trips and meetings, job interviews, etc. Particularly if you live in different time zones, this becomes more important.

        14. Keep track of each other’s social media activities.

        Facebook and Instagram photos of each other. Send each other tweets. Tag each other on Facebook. Post stuff on each other’s wall. Let them know you care. Be cool with stalking each other.

        15. Gift a personal object for the other person to hold on to.

        Memories have power. No matter what it is–a pendant, a ring, a keychain, a collection of songs and videos, or a perfume bottle. Everyday items and things have meanings to us, whether we realize it or not. We all try to store memories in material things so that when our minds fail, we will still be able to look at or hold onto something that will help us recall our memories. This is why something so simple can mean so much to a person when others may see little or no value in it.

        16. Get a good messaging app.

        This is extremely important because texting is the most frequent and common way of communication the two of you have. You need a good messaging app on your phones that allows interactions beyond words and emoticons.

        Personally, I use this messaging app called LINE. I find it highly effective because it has a huge reserve of playful and very funny “stickers” that are free for its users to use. You can also go to the app’s “Sticker Shop” to download (or gift!) extra stickers of different themes (e.g., Hello Kitty, Pokemon, Snoopy, MARVEL, etc.) at a low price. Occasionally, the app will give out free sticker sets for promotions. This messaging app is cute and easy to learn to use.

        17. Snail-mail your gift.

        Mail each other postcards and hand-written love letters. Send each other gifts across the globe from time to time. Flower deliveries on birthdays, anniversaries, and Valentine’s Day. Shop online and surprise each other with cool T-shirts, sexy underwear, and such.

        18. Stay positive.

        You need to constantly inject positive energy into the long-distance relationship to keep it alive. Yes, the waiting can be painful, and you can sometimes feel lonely, but you need to remind yourself that the fruits at the end will be sweet as heaven.

        One good trick to staying positive is to be grateful all the time. Be thankful that you have someone to love — someone who also loves you back. Be thankful for the little things, like the hand-made letter that arrived safely in your mailbox the other day. Be thankful for each other’s health and safety.

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        19. Keep each other updated on each other’s friends and family.

        This will help you two to know each other’s culture and values. Knowing small habits of each other helps in developing an understanding and building mutual trust.

        Talking about family and friends gives you more matters to talk about. The best thing to talk about is gossip and scandals.

        20. Video-call whenever possible.

        Because sometimes looking into each other’s eyes and hearing each other’s voices can make everything feel alright again.

        A video call is though nothing like being together, but it’s the best thing and the most to do for coziness in a long-distance relationship.

        21. Give each other pet names.

        Because it’s cute. It keeps the lovey-dovey going. Having special names for each other reserved only for one another are heart-warming. Hearing that one word with love lifts our spirits up, and we feel assured all over again.

        Chaos seems to fade away just by hearing that special word from someone special.

        With the best wishes…

        Love (or like) is a force that is beyond your control. Love just happens. The same goes for turning off those feelings, even when you get the perfect job halfway across the country.

        Neither one of us expects to be long-distance in a relationship. But if you’re in a relationship like this, you’ll just have to make the most out of a difficult situation. These advice for long distance relationships will hopefully help you stay strong and cheerful when living apart from one another.

        More Recommended Relationships Experts on Lifehack
        • Carol Morgan —  A communication professor, dating/relationship and success coach
        • Dr. Magdalena Battles — A Doctor of Psychology with specialties include children, family relationships, domestic violence, and sexual assault
        • Randy Skilton —  An educator in the areas of relationships and self-help

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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