Fight Back By Being Informed: How to Spot a Scam

Over the last couple weeks I have posted about internet fraud and extortion scams designed to separate innocent people from their money and personal information. If you have been following along you now have insight into some of these scams and could likely explain what they are, and now you will learn how to identify them so that you decrease the likelihood of becoming a victim.

road-sign-464653__180That is unbelievable!

I think almost every article on the internet about spotting a scam likely starts the same by offering the old adage:

“If it seems too good to be true, it usually is.”

While you surf the internet and read emails let your inner skeptic out. It is never a bad thing to be a bit skeptical about things and if you think that it is something worth pursuing do some research. There is always new information being added to the internet by everyday people who talk about their experiences. This is particularly useful if you buy anything online. Always know who you are about to send money too and be sure that they are a reputable and trusted seller. This will lessen your headaches down the road that could come from not receiving your purchase, or not receiving what you believe you purchased.

The mention of money brings me to my next point…

purse-522622__180Put your wallet away.

Money is a big motivator for many humans. If you get an email and there is money involved, you can almost bet it is a scam. Some common back stories that you may have seen at  already are:

  • The wealthy man trying to flee his country but needs your help to gain access to our country/his millions.
  • Your long lost relative died and you are the sole heir to their fortunes.
  • A sick millionaire needs your help to distribute his money to charity.
  • A millionaire’s daughter, whose father has been murdered by his business partners, needs your help to transfer money to your country for investment purposes.

Okay, you get the point. If you would like to see more examples of these types of email scams check out You can even search the site to see if there have been other emails like those that you have received loaded on the site.

Bottom line…never give out any personal information and never agree to deposit a check/ transfer money to receive a reward. When you deposit a check you become liable if it bounce’s and then will be responsible to pay it back. By this time you will have likely transferred or wired money already to the scammer and will have no way to get it back as these methods are usually untraceable.

Some emails are very well structured and could seem like they are legitimately from your bank or another party whom you are familiar with. If you receive one that you are unsure about it is best to contact that institution or business to verify—but never ever respond and send personal or account information…ever!

time-430625__180Be wary of urgency.

Scammers realize that they need to “strike while the iron is hot”, and that when given time people will often think more and talk to people about what is happening. The last thing that they want you to do in this situation is think as this can open you up to doubt and apprehension. If anyone is trying to rush you or pressure you to make a decision take that as your cue to dig a little deeper before you dive right in or, you know… abort!

The proof is in the grammar.

If you have spent any amount of time looking at examples of email scams or have received one that you opened, it is likely that you have noticed they are often fraught with mistakes. Upstanding and professional organizations are not perfect and anyone can make a mistake but scam emails take this to a whole new level where it is almost always glaringly obvious and incredibly frequent throughout the letter.

girl-1076998__180Let’s keep it on the down low.

Whenever someone tells you not to tell anyone else about a transaction it should raise some questions. This tactic is used to stop the victim from seeking any outside counsel or advice.


Some other things that will often go along with helping you to identify a scam would be that any contact details you may have or receive will be very vague and contact with you is most likely to have been unsolicited or initiated out of nowhere.

It is important that people have these discussions and bring information on internet-based scams to the forefront so that everyone is informed. This will make it more difficult for those profiting from the scams to continue creating victims.

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