Don’t Get Stung – Tips For Avoiding Scammers 

Scammers are like fire ants: they attack without warning, multiply like crazy, and refuse to die.

Here are some suggestions on how to become “scam-proof.”

Do not freely hand out your email address to companies and strangers. If you find that difficult, then get 2 email addresses: 1 for people you trust and 1 for the rest of the world.

While we are talking emails – unless you expected that sender to send you that email with that specific attachment or link, do not open it. When in doubt, call the sender at the number you have on file. Do not call the number in the questionable email.

Because a lot of scams start with a telephone call, your phone should have caller ID. Do not answer a call from an unrecognized number, person or company. They can’t scam you if they can’t contact you.

Program your answering machine with the following: “I’m monitoring my calls. Please state your business and leave your name and number.” Note that the message does not contain your name or phone number. This will screen out a surprising number of scammers.

Set your privacy settings at the highest level on Facebook, and don’t friend anyone you don’t already know and like.

Don’t give money to a charity without carefully checking it’s bona fides. Look it up on https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/search-for-charities to see if it has tax-exempt status, and at www.charitynavigator.org and www.guidestar.org to find out details and ratings.

Don’t contribute to a GoFundMe account. That website does not screen the people who open the account and there is absolutely no accountability for the way the funds are used.

One of the most popular scams involves someone who agrees to buy an item or service from you. The scammer sends you payment but “accidentally” sends you too much, and then asks you to deposit the check and send back the difference. Once you’ve parted with your money, the scammer’s check bounces. Don’t ever rely on deposited funds until they have cleared the bank.

Don’t do business with a stranger who unexpectedly knocks on your door. This includes roofers, encyclopedia salesmen and little kids selling cookie dough.

Don’t respond to a “trial offer” on a website that requires you to put in your credit card for a “one-time” low-cost product. You risk inadvertently signing up for a monthly product at a much-higher price. The small print will get you every time.

Don’t lend money to strangers, friends or relatives. If you feel inclined to ignore this excellent recommendation, then at least memorialize the terms in a document drafted by your lawyer and signed by the borrower. If you ignore this recommendation too, then be honest with yourself and just kiss your money good-bye.

Hammerle Finley Law Firm. Give us a call. We can help.

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The information contained in this article is general information only and does not constitute legal advice.