It hurts me when my friends or family get ripped off. But how do you know it’s a scam?
Over the years I’ve had my share of scams. Sometimes if you are good-hearted and kind, you attract all the wrong kinds of people. They can spot someone like me from a mile away.
It’s not that I am dumb, though I have been known to have my fair share of “blonde moments,” it’s just that I take people at their word.
I’ve had to learn the hard way that some people say one thing and do another. And if you feel like you are getting scammed, get out while you can.
Here are some tips to stay scam-free.
1. It Sounds Too Good to be True
Yes, yes I know you have heard that before, but the old saying is true. If someone is selling you a 2010 BMW for $2000 and he is going to throw in new rims and a car detail- tell him to shove it and take your money elsewhere. It’s a sad, sad story (one that ended in a courtroom for me) but I was one of those poor schmucks that bought a deal that was too good to be true. Yes ladies and gentlemen I bought a lemon. But thanks to those lovely lawyers at 1-800-LEMON LAW I got my money back and then some. And since I don’t want you to fall victim to the same fate always ask yourself, “is this deal too good to be true?” Or “Why is this so cheap?” Or “What is in this for them?” Those are all important questions and if you find yourself going “hmmm” a little too much, then back out and drive your ass to the next Joe Shmo.
2. The Ad Uses Words Like “NEW” or “CLEAN” or “COZY”
I am an avid Craigslister. I like finding cheap deals. But if you are looking for an apartment and the ad says “new” you should ask yourself “what happened to the old carpet?” Because to me if they need a new carpet then this is probably why:
A. Someone got murdered (I know, I know I have been watching too much CSI but heck nowadays you never know!) Or more likely, they just died on your soon-to-be living room floor.
B. The person that lived there before you was a pack rat who lived amongst cat poop and McDonald’s wrappings.
C. There was a water leak. Mold everywhere. Excellent living conditions.
D. All of the above.
If they use words like “cozy” that means small. If they say stuff like “clean” the place is probably a real dump. And if it says, “great view” then you know the house itself is nothing to look at.
3. It Involves Taking Off Your Clothes
So you’ve had dreams of being a model since you picked up your first Vogue magazine. But what they didn’t tell you in Vogue is the darker, much uglier world of modeling. The world that involves cocaine, anorexia and sexual assault.
I’m not saying this is always the case. Heavens knows there are plenty of well-adjusted models out there.
But ladies — if they promise to take you down to road of fame and fortune and all you have to do is take off your clothes and take some pictures- then honey, that’s the wrong road.
Because no amount of money is worth your dignity. And modeling is totally overrated anyway.
4. They Say They’ll Pay You Later
If it’s your best bud with a track record of paying you back- or at least paying for your latte, then that is one thing. But if it is someone you don’t know too well, a coworker or the guy who lives down the block, or some friend of a friend, then stop and think about it. Will I get this money back? Probably not. How much do they need? Will you ever see it again? What are they using it for?
I’m all for generosity, I’m extremely generous with my money, but if I just know they are never going to pay me back, and I have a feeling they are going to spend it on drugs or something stupid, then I have to say no.
Learning to say no is hard. I’ll write a blog post about it soon because it is something I have struggled with for years! But learning to say no might be the best thing you ever learn to do.
Just say no!
5. You Have a Bad Feeling About It
I’m sure you have heard the phrase “I had a gut feeling.” Well, I recently read an article about where that saying comes from. It turns out our guts are very strongly linked to our emotional response. Think of “butterflies in the stomach” or “gut wrenching.” The first place we feel a heightened emotional response is in the gut. And this is the time we should listen to our bodies.
So often we take our bodies for granted. They are just mechanisms to get us from point A to point B. We use and abuse them and wear them out. But when you get that “pang in your stomach” and you feel like something is wrong — listen to it!
I can’t tell you how many times I have gone against my intuition. My body was screaming at me “don’t!” And I did it anyway.
And if the gut can handle all the junk you throw into your body and digest it every hour or every day- then why not give it some credit and listen to it every now and then?
Listen to my words of wisdom and you might find your way out of a scam-a-lang-a-ding-dong.
and if he says he’s from Nigeria, take your money and run!