Identifying fraud is getting more and more tricky. Criminals have become more and more creative, and increasingly clever about disguising their methods. And on top of that, they’re using more sophisticated technology to commit crime.
Perhaps the most devious tactic being employed by criminals is that they are now targeting their crime. The most vulnerable are being targeted – weary homeowners in danger of losing their homes to foreclosure are enticed with foreclosure scams, while those drowning in debt are duped by offers to clean up or eliminate debt with little or no effort by the debtor.
But there are ways to recognize a scam. First, if you are told an offer will expire if you don’t respond immediately or quickly, and you feel pressured to make a decision, the offer could be fraudulent. Always take your time before committing to anything. You may also want to discuss the offer with friends. Others can often discern when an offer isn’t forthcoming.
Search for the company, the individuals and the offer online. If it is a scam, chances are you’ll find information about it online.
If the offer is from a well-known company, confirm it with them. Don’t just assume that because the offer says it’s from a particular company that that’s the case. Always confirm. Make sure that the phone numbers, links and addresses that came with the offer are legitimate.
One rule of thumb recommended by law enforcement officers is to ask yourself, “If I were made this same offer on the street, would I give out my personal information?” If not, then you shouldn’t give it out online.
If you can’t figure out any other way to determine whether something is legitimate, rely on your gut instincts. If you have any doubts about a particular offer, just don’t do it. Better safe than sorry.