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Becoming Empowered

Don't get scammed.

Hey everyone! Can you believe it's April?

Did anyone play a good April Fool's joke on you? Hopefully it was fun, and not a scam… I wanted to talk about ways that you can avoid getting scammed when it comes to your money.

There is an interesting story that I love:

Two men crossed paths. One man had money, and the other had experience. The one with experience left with the money, and the one who had the money, left with experience.

You may have heard it a few different ways, but regardless there are some serious professionals out there that are good at getting people to part ways with their dollars.

Here are a few tips for you to avoid getting scammed:

1. It's just too good to be true, or it's exactly what you need.

If you've been searching for $10,000 loan for three weeks, and stumble across a craigslist post that says $10,000 loan, low interest, no credit needed; it could seem perfect! If it's too sweet, it's probably fake. For example a mortgage or a car loan is a serious pain in the butt, and they even have collateral to come take if you don't pay your note. Odds are that you won't get a huge loan just by entering your email, and paying $499 to have the funds wired to you.

2. There is some level of urgency.

If the person says there are only so many days left, or so many slots left for this round, be wary. Their whole goal is to scoop up as many people as possible before getting caught. Imagine a fishing net, if you leave the top open and in the water long enough, some of the fish you've caught will get out!

The other thing with the urgency play is that it stops our rational thinking, and shifts us into an emotional, reactionary state.

I need to do this now, or I'll miss it!

3. Terms Change

I must admit, I got scammed once. My fiancé, now wife, and I were searching for a rare type of Dog called a Shiba Inu. We paid $300 to have one delivered from a nearby state. The next morning when our delivery didn't show up, all I had was an email saying that there was some sort of clearance that needed to be paid for in order for the license to get through and have the dog shipped, otherwise he would be stuck at the warehouse. Luckily I realized this was a scam, and we caught it, but we lost more money.

If it was $500, but it's $200 more to get it out of customs, or it was $150 to start but now an additional $150 for the next step, just stop!

4. Something seems to make sense, but doesn't.

I've seen this where a loan company only needs the last four of your SSN for the application. It makes sense and makes you feel secure.

But it's almost impossible to get a legitimate loan without your full SSN!

Sometimes with this scam they will ask for your banking information to confirm you have a working account to deposit the funds. Now armed with the last 4 of your SSN, contact info, and DOB, and your real bank info, they could cause some real trouble.

5. The scam makes sense if they get enough people.

If someone scams another person for $100, that’s not a very profitable business, and obviously won't pay for much. But if they can get 10, 50, 100 people to fall for something, then it will pay off.

A lot of times the scams don't hurt us too bad aside from our pride. Maybe a few hundred dollars. The scams don't make sense on a micro level, but given enough attempts it could be profitable.

Think of the Nigerian prince email scam. If you send that out to enough people, let's say one million, and only one percent answer, and send $100, that would be $100,000,000!

1M*.01 = 10,000. 10,000*$100=$1,000,000.00

6. The person or group you are talking to is hard to reach, or seems a bit off.

Double check the email. It may say [email protected] If you only read the first part, you may be inclined to believe it's truly your bank.

Remember that they could have disposable email or contact info.

It's best to work with people you know, or places with a physical location.

Also, if you reach out to them and they only seem to respond at 2:37 AM, it may be a sign that it's a negative actor in a different country trying to scam you.

I hope these tips can help you avoid getting played like an April fool!

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