Being a consumer has become quite a difficult thing. There are so many scams and people waiting to exploit the unaware consumer. The FTC has released tips to help consumers avoid getting caught up in fraudulent scams. These tips are based on getting yourself educated and informed and being alert when buying anything or receiving claims of winnings.
The consumer tips to avoid fraud include:
Pay attention to the sender.
Many scammers pretend to be a trustworthy authority like a bank, government official, or a charity. Learn to spot these imposters. If you look closely at communications from these scammers, you will see that letters or numbers look funny or are different than it would be if it came from the legitimate source. Do not respond to or send money in response to an email, SMS, or call that seem to be suspicious.
The Internet is your friend when it comes to information.
Do online research about the company that contacted you or the product that is being sold. Add words like ‘fraud’ or ‘scam’ to your search parameters and see what comes up. You can search the whole message, a phone number, or any other information from the message to find out if it is a scam.
Don’t pay money for promises or to receive money.
Any message that requires you to pay money or taxes in order to receive debt relief, a loan, or win a prize, is most likely a scam. You will never see your money or the promised product again. No bank or legitimate credit provider will ask you to share your personal information or make random payments. These scams are everywhere and all consumers need to tread carefully and read carefully.
Use a friend or family member as a soundboard.
Scams often play on our emotions and require an immediate response or it will no longer be valid. Before you get swept up in this offer, take a step back and talk to someone you trust. Tell them what you received and ask them what they think you should do. These scammers want you to make an impulsive decision, but it will cost you money.
Always be skeptical and don’t send money to anyone who you don’t know. Any product or prize that requires you to pay money before you can receive it, screams scam and should be avoided. Report the company, delete the email, and don’t give it a second thought.