How to spot a scammer
Scammers use a variety of techniques to convince potential victims to give them money or make a fraudulent claim.
Here are the basics.
The scammer: The scammers can be the one who offers the scam, says Matt Pfeiffer, founder of ScamCheck.com.
They may offer you a free product, a coupon or a free gift.
Or they may make you feel like a scam victim by suggesting you get the product for free or in a bundle, or a discounted price.
The victim: Most scammers offer something in exchange for a money or credit card or debit card transaction.
Sometimes they are offering to get a new phone or laptop, but often they will offer to buy you something, a movie ticket or a new car.
The reward: If the scammers want to get you to pay for something, they will usually try to give you a prize, like cash, or an item for free.
Often, they’ll offer to put you on a “list” for free gifts, or they will use a social media promotion to get someone to share your photo or post it on their social media accounts.
The offer: If you accept, you can be sure that the scammer is trying to make you want something.
A good example is a $50 gift card from Target, which the scammed person will give to you if you pay for the card.
They might even offer to give a gift card to a friend or a loved one.
The result: When you accept a gift, the scam will usually tell you how much money you’ve won.
If the gift is a prepaid card, the scammer might tell you the amount of money you won.
The problem: The scam often ends with the scumbag telling you the prize you received.
It usually involves a phone call or text message or a personal email.
Sometimes it’s the message you receive, where you read the message, or where you get a text message.
Sometimes, the message comes from a scam artist.
Scammers often offer to make an additional fee to cover the cost of your ticket, hotel, car or other item.
How to respond: You can tell if you’ve been scammed by looking at the scummy person’s behavior, Pfeiffser says.
For example, if they are constantly calling you, or texting you and asking if you’re okay, that’s suspicious.
If you get text messages asking you to buy a gift or a gift certificate or an extra gift card, it’s suspicious too.
If they send you an email with a link to a website or email account, that is probably a scam.
If someone keeps sending you text messages, it means they are probably trying to scam you.
Scams can also appear to be coming from a trusted source, such as a bank, P Feiffer says, but you may be more likely to be scammed if you receive a message on your phone or online, or from a company that you trust.
How you can protect yourself: Make sure you are following all the guidelines in the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website, PFeiffer advises.
Scam emails may appear legitimate and legitimate scams can have fraudulent content.
If a scammers email appears to be legitimate, you may not have to respond or call them back.
If your email does not include a message from a reputable company, you should take a look at the company and check to see if there are any warning labels.
Also, if you get an email from someone that looks legitimate, but it seems to be from a scammed company, it may be a scam attempt.
Pfeifers advice is that if you think you have been scamed, you might want to contact your credit card company, your bank, or your local law enforcement agency.
You should also report any suspicious activity to the National Scam Hotline at 1-877-4CALL-NSPLICE (1-877) 4-CALL.