Wednesday, August 22, 2012

FOUR WAYS TO MAKE YOURSELF SCAM-PROOF


FOUR WAYS TO MAKE YOURSELF SCAM-PROOF
Would you like to have a super power that makes it virtually impossible for someone to trick you out of your hard-earned money?
Here are four secrets that are absolutely like kryptonite to scammers.

1. Say, “I am not buying today,” and mean it.  Walk away from high-pressure sellers who tell you that you must make a decision right away. You and I have made our worst decisions when we are in a hurry and under heavy sales pressure.  Never make a decision in those conditions!  Getting second and third opinions, along with extra time and advice from others, will usually stop the high pressure sales guys and they will move on to scam an easier victim.  My mother gets rid of high pressure folks easily because she says, “Just talk to my son, David, he’s the attorney.”  Whether it is a used car salesman, a timeshare hawker, an air conditioning repairman, or a financial services representative, move slowly and do not agree to anything you do not understand or feel pressure to do. “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Proverbs 11:4.  When it comes to business and motorcycles, speed hurts.

2. Realize “You can’t get something for nothing.” Ignore letters or emails that ask you to help transfer money into your bank account from Nigeria or to wire money out of the country. You did not win a Canadian lottery you cant’ recall even entering. If it seems too good to be true, it is! Never pay money upfront to get a loan or win a lottery or sweepstakes. Real places never require you to send money to them.  Don’t cash checks you get in the mail along with a letter or call that tells you you’ve won an unexpected prize. The checks are fakes. We should not even want something that is a get rich quick gimmick. “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.” Proverbs 13:11. When it comes to scams, greedy folks are often both the victims and the scammers.

3. “Don’t tell anyone your business.” Never, ever give your social security number, passwords, date of birth, bank account or credit card information to those who call, or email you. If someone calls “from your bank” or a credit card company seeking this information, hang up and call them at a number you already have that you know is correct.  You will find that both your bank and your credit card company know all those secret things about you, and a lot more, and will not be calling to get that information from you.  “Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” Proverbs 2:11. When it comes to personal information, loose lips sink ships.

4. “Don’t promise away tomorrow.” Scammers are not always out to do you harm. Some just always see you as a payday. Someone in your own family may be a black hole that just absorbs money. They are always broke, and always behind on something that it is just critical. I notice it is always someone else’s fault: the car repair guy, the baby’s doctor or the mean landlord who won’t cut them a break. They just need someone to co-sign a loan, and all their problems will disappear. Besides, they will say, they will pay it back. Please never co-sign a loan that you are not willing and able to easily pay in full without a hint of repayment. “It is poor judgment to co-sign a friend’s note, to become responsible for a neighbor’s debts.”  Proverbs 17:18.  When it comes to co-signing, there is always a reason that they need your good credit.
These four secrets, grounded in the Good Book, will keep you from being such an easy victim. For more tips, see my website.