How to Find out If Someone Is a Scammer

by Hans Fredrick

Scams and cons have always been something that the consumer needs to be aware of. However, the Internet has made it easier than ever before for unsavory types to scam unsuspecting customers. If you are on the Internet a great deal, sooner or later you will come into contact with some kind of a scam. Knowing how to spot a scam, online and off, is an important tool that will help you keep your money in your pocket.

Read or listen to the wording of the offer very carefully. There are certain terms that pop up in various scams that should immediately throw up a red flag. While these terms don't automatically mean that something is a scam, they certainly signify that an offer requires more investigating. Terms like "No Risk" when discussing an investment should warn you. "Instant Returns," "Secret" and "Insider" are all words that might mean the offer needs to be looked at more carefully. These flags apply to offers you see written in emails and on web pages, as well as to verbal offers that you might be pitched over the phone.

Google the offer. Enter the name of the company making you the offer, or a brief description of the offer into the Google search engine. The beauty of the Internet is that it is full of solid information on scams from those who have either found the scammers out, or from those who have been unfortunately burned by them. The good news is that there is a very low chance that you are the first victim ever of a new scam. Google searches often yield very beneficial results because of how quickly news of a scam gets around.

Check on websites that report on scams and see if there is any mention of the offer that has been made to you. The most popular of these sites is Snopes, and this is always worth checking if you suspect that something is a scam. There are other sites and message boards that discuss popular scams that you may also want to check.

Investigate the history of the company that is making you an offer. You need to be doubly cautious of any "offer" that appears to come from a private individual, and not an actual company. If a company is registered with the Better Business Bureau, it is a good start to indicating that their offer may actually be authentic. A company that does mislead or scam you should certainly be reported to the BBB.

Tip

  • If a company is pressuring you to make a decision right away, it can also indicate a scam.

Warning

  • Always err on the side of caution, especially when the person you suspect of being a scammer is approaching you online. It can be difficult to verify a person's identity online, so if you have reason to be skeptical, it is best to walk, or surf, away.

About the Author

Hans Fredrick has been busy in the online writing world since 2005. He has written on diverse topics ranging from career advice for actors to tips for motorcycle maintenance. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan.

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