Here at Ideal, we’re all about making money and saving money. But, unfortunately, there are a whole lot of people out there that want to take the hard-earned cash right out of your pocket. That’s right, I’m talking about scammers. Why don’t they all just get a job and make money the right way?
The worst part about getting scammed is that you end up losing money and you don’t even see any benefit from it! No new car, no new house, not even a damn cheeseburger.
Well, you’re in luck, because this article might just save your ass from getting caught up in one of these evil internet scams, and could save you a whole lot of cash and a whole lot of heartbreak.
These are the 5 biggest scams that people always seem to fall for! Let’s go!
#1: Phishing Scams – No Boat Necessary
Do you know what’s a worthwhile way to spend your money? Fishing, with an “F”, that is. You can’t beat a day out on the lake with a few of your friends. Do you know what’s a shitty scam that you should avoid at all costs? Phishing, with a “Ph”!
“Phishing” is a term that refers to any scam that involves someone trying to act like a trusted professional, such as a banker, a mortgage provider, or even a family member or friend, hoping to get some important information out of you. They’re trying to get their grubby little hands on your passwords, your personal information, your credit or debit card numbers, or your bank account details.
Sometimes they want to just sell your personal information to one of those not-so-trustworthy data collection companies, which will probably just result in you getting a bunch of ads on your web browser or a bunch of spam emails. But, sometimes, they want to hack directly into your bank account and drain it like a dirty bathtub. So, don’t let them!
If you don’t know already, you need to be extremely careful with that kind of information. Any email or call that you get that requests any kind of sensitive information should make you extremely skeptical. Phishing is one of the most common types of scams out there, so you should always have your guard up.
When in doubt, ask your caller or emailer to prove their identity to you, and if they can’t do it, tell them to scram! The email’s sent from a public email domain like @gmail.com or @yahoo.com? And they want your personal info? Phishing! The domain is misspelled? Like @azamon.com or @netflux.com? Phishing! The email has a bunch of spelling or grammar errors? Phishing! A bunch of attachments that seem to have no place being there? Phishing, phishing, phishing! Don’t let these phishers get you on their line, delete that email as soon as possible!
While phishers might try to convince you that they need your information for this or that and then sneakily take money from you, another kind of scammer is going to just tell you to pay them for stuff you don’t even owe!
#2: Tax and Debt Collection Scams – I Don’t Owe You
Similar to a phishing scam, another common scam is getting emails and calls from debt collectors or tax collectors telling people that they owe money for debts and taxes that they don’t have. I get a call from someone telling me that I owe money on a car loan almost every day. Guess what? I already own my car in full!
These people are trying to make you panic and send them money because you’re afraid the IRS or a debt collection agency is going to come after you! So, what’s the best way to avoid getting scammed by these people? Keep track of your finances! Know how much you owe in taxes, and then pay everything that you owe, and be aware of any outstanding debts that you have.
If you end up getting a letter from the quote-unquote IRS asking you to send them money, call up the real IRS and confirm that the letter’s real before you send any money. Same thing with the loan company: call up the real one and talk to them before you go sending money willy-nilly.
So those scammers are trying to convince you that you owe them money, but this next kind of scammer wants to convince you that they owe you money, which you can get if you just pay them a little bit…
#3: Sweepstakes, Lotteries, and Prizes Scams – Too Good To Be True
You’ve probably all gotten a call from someone saying, “Congratulations, you just won a free vacation in the Florida Keys! All you have to do is send us a deposit of $100 to secure your reservation!” Sounds too good to be true, right? That’s because it is!
I guarantee you that there isn’t a single legitimate company out there that’s going to make you pay to get a prize that they want to give you. If they want to give you something, they’re just going to give it to you! The Washington State lottery isn’t going to ask you for money if you win millions!
The point is that if anyone calls or emails you asking for a monetary deposit or some personal information in exchange for a prize that you’ve won, ignore it. That person’s just trying to scam you. End of story.
This next kind of scammer isn’t acting like they want to give you a prize, per se. Instead, they’re going to offer you a job or a paycheck that you didn’t earn in hopes of getting your money or personal information.
#4: Employment Scams – Bad Career Path
In this type of scam, grifters are going to call or email you saying that they have a position available for you. And guess what? The salary is twice what you’re making now! Wow! But, hold on a second, before you get the job, you have to send them a few hundred dollars to cover the cost of training or equipment that you need for the job! Sound legit to you? Yeah, me neither.
Why would any employer want you to send them money when they’re just going to end up paying that money back to you once you start working there? I hate to break it to you, but you’re not getting that dream job that caller promised you, because it doesn’t even exist. Don’t send any of these fake employers your money.
Unfortunately, this scam is one of the most effective at getting people to engage. According to a study, around 81% of targets responded to these fake employment offers, and around 25% actually ended up losing money. I get it! Everyone is hoping that dream job will come to them one day.
But, just be realistic. No one is going to offer you a great job that you didn’t apply for out of the blue. And no legitimate employer is going to ask you for money before you start working there. That’s just not realistic.
What is realistic, though, is this next scam. If you pay money to someone on an online marketplace, you think you’ll receive the item, right? Well, not always…
#5: Online Purchase Scams – Sly Sellers
Online purchase scams take many forms all across the internet. They happen on eBay, Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and any other site that connects buyers and sellers directly. I recently heard about a scam where people will sell iPhones online and then report them as stolen several months later. What’s that mean for you? That iPhone 6 you bought doesn’t work with your service provider anymore, and that seller gets a replacement iPhone if they have it insured. Suddenly, you go to contact them on Facebook Marketplace or wherever you bought it, and you find that their profile no longer exists. Bummer.
These kinds of peer-to-peer selling and buying sites are great for finding good deals, but they’re also riddled with scammers, and those scammers are learning new tricks every day. When you’re buying anything online, be extremely careful who you deal with.
Make sure your seller has a bunch of reviews, and good ones. If they have zero reviews, that should be a huge red flag. Even if they have a bunch of reviews, make sure those reviews are from real people. A bunch of reviews that look fake is a sure sign of a scammer.
Another red flag is if a product is listed for exactly $500. If the seller is using an unconfirmed PayPal account because they don’t want to go through the hassle of getting their account confirmed, then they’ll have a monthly withdrawal limit of $500. I’m not saying every $500 item online is a scam, but if there are other arrows pointing to the fact that the person is a scammer, the $500 price tag is just one more piece of evidence.