Common Sense Ways to Protect Yourself

Some Things to Remember:

If it seems too good to be true, IT PROBABLY IS!


You should resist the urge to jump at a "SURE THING"


Getting scammed is just like getting mugged

- except that you don't necessarily see the face of the perpetrator


Know Who You Are Dealing With

Even if someone says they are a friend or relative -

MAKE THEM PROVE IT - ask THEM to answer personal information

(a pet's name, a favorite vacation spot, your spouses name, etc.)


Your Personal Information:

Your "Personal Information" is just that - PERSONAL

A Scammer will typically ask for information that would otherwise be considered confidential,

they are then able to use this information to steal your identity


If someone asks for your personal information over the phone...

ask them why they need this information, then ask for their phone number.

Call them back only when you are convinced they need this information for a legitimate purpose.

This may require calling customer service and asking THEM to explain why your personal information is needed


A  bank or other entity will NEVER call you for your personal information

If you are a customer, they already have all of the information they need

Tell the person that you would prefer to bring the information to a branch location in person


Protecting Your Personal Information:

You may not be able to keep you information completely private,

but here are some things you can do to help protect it


Look Through Your Wallet

- consider not carrying anything with your social security number on it

Photocopy everything in your wallet in the event it is stolen - that way you know what was lost and who to call


Look Around Your House

- keep anything with personal information on it in a safe, locked location

Sometimes a predator may be right inside your house (family, friends, cleaning staff, repair men)


Check Your Trash

do not throw anything in the trash that has personal information on it

Remember that your information is valuable - the thieves have no problem digging through the trash to get it


Shred, Shred, Shred

If there is any question if a document should be shredded or not - SHRED IT!

Even remove your name / address from any magazines that you throw away

 - this can give scammers an idea of what your hobbies you are interested in


Shredder Buying Tips:

Buy a high-quality, "CROSS SHRED" unit

"Strip shred" paper can still be taped back together by a thief with time in their hands


Remove the Mail From Your Mailbox

The sooner you remove the mail, the less time they have to steal it from you


Take Advantage of the Ability to Get a Free Yearly Credit Report

Consider staggering the reports through the year (from the 3 agencies)

That way you actually get a report once every 3 months


Watch Your Statements

Keep an eye on all of your monthly statements from banks and credit cards


Business Opportunities:

If the opportunity was that lucrative


wouldn't they keep the secret to themselves?


Even if it were a legitimate company operating outside the U.S


This would just be a way for them to avoid paying taxes and YOU would be part of the tax fraud scheme


Some business schemes have you cash checks that "foreign banks do not want to cash"


by agreeing to cash checks for someone, you have effectively made this problem yours


If you are interested in starting a business



If the Salesperson is a "Bully"

or does not want to discuss all of your questions in detail,

this may be a tip that there is something to hide


Ask For a Business Disclosure

All franchise-type businesses are required to required to give this information to a potential buyer when asked for it.


The Business Disclosure Should Include:

A business plan

any lawsuits that have been filed against the company

At least 10 references of other franchisees


No One Can Give You a Money-Back Guarantee

that a start-up company will make money and not fail


Spelling Mistakes

As found in many of the schemes, there are very evident spelling / grammar mistakes

these are mistakes a professional company would not allow on correspondence


Overpayment Scams:

Know Who You Are Dealing With

- never wire money to strangers


If You Are Selling Something

Do Not Accept a Check For More Than The Asking Price

ask for a new check with the correct amount on it


As a Seller, Consider Suggesting Alternate Forms of Payment

Use an escrow service (PayPal for example)

If the buy insists on using a particular escrow service that you have not heard of

CHECK IT OUT! - if you have any doubt, don't use the service


If a buyer insists that you wire back funds


Legitimate buyers don't pressure you to send money back to them

In addition, you have little recourse if there is a problem with the wire transaction


Even be Careful of Traveler's Checks

$500 travelerís checks DO Exit, but typically only used between banks

$100 Checks are the largest denomination most banks will give a customer


Ask Your Bank How Long It Will Take to Cash a Check You Have Just Deposited

- not just how long till it is "available" in your account (possibly as much as 10 days)

This does not guarantee the check is not counterfeit, but at least you will know it is being drawn on a real bank account


Sudden Riches:

If You Didn't Enter a Lottery, HOW CAN YOU WIN IT?

It's hard enough to win a lottery you DID enter


Resist the Urge to Enter a Foreign Lottery

not only is it ILLEGAL!, but most solicitations are phony


Throw Away Any Offer That Asks You to Pay For a Prize or Gift

- if it's free, you shouldn't have to pay for it!


Spelling Mistakes

As found in many of the schemes, there are very evident spelling / grammar mistakes

these are mistakes a professional company would not allow on correspondence


Online Scams:

Do not accept offers from sellers of online auctions trying to "lure" you off the auction site

and give you a "better deal" after you have been outbid


Other tricks to have you pay them away from the auction site include:

"Our credit card account is having technical difficulties"

"We've had problems in the past with buyers using online payment services"

"We'll provide insurance for your wire transfer"

"We'll pay the fee for the wire transfer"


More Online Safety tips to come

Including how to protect yourself from phishing scams


ID Theft On Ebay


The information on this page and it's links are meant for informational purposes only

if you have any questions about a product, offer or request for money or information, contact someone with experience in these matters