Keep Safe from Scams

Nigeria is a country famous for their green and white flag, solid World Cup Soccer teams, and home to many wealthy princes who want to give you money.  

The truth is, many of us have heard or read the scam of the Nigerian Prince that needs help sending money to the US, and we won’t fall for it, but we will fall for the “FREE Sample scam.”  How is this possible?


Scams come in many forms, from emails to phone calls to even advertisements on the television.  Any online transaction (selling, buying, or even finding a roommate) is open to the possibility that one of the parties is a scam.  We fall for scams most frequently when we are looking for help.  Example: Ben is selling a car and uses the local paper to post an ad, and the paper uses a website to post the ad as well.  Ben is contacted by a prospective buyer of the car who wants to purchase it for more than Ben’s asking price.  The buyer is requesting that Ben use the extra money to pay for the vehicle to be transported to the buyer.  Three days after Ben has sent the car away, the payment is returned because of a bad account.  Ben has fallen victim of a scam.


Never take an overpayment.  This is a common scheme, but it can be tricky.  As in the example, the overpayment might be for legitimate reasons, but usually the scammer wants their funds sent immediately.  If you are ever requested to make a deposit, and from the deposit send some money by way of a Western Union transfer, or Cashiers Check to a third party, that should raise a red flag on the transaction.


Free samples are NEVER free.  Though you see the advertisements on the TV, or in popular magazines, every free sample has a catch.  Make sure to read the fine print, understand return policies, and if you have to give “proof of payment” for a sample, you can bet that in 7 to 30 days you will be charged for that product.    


Keep your Identity safe.  Scammers don’t just try to get your money, but they also want to get your identity.  If they are successful in taking your identity, they will try to get away with ordering credit cards, goods, and other items in your name, putting your credit at risk as they will have no intention of paying back on any of the goods they purchase using your information.  They try to gather as much information as they can, from the typical (Social Security number, PIN, DC or CC numbers) to the obscure (relatives, past addresses, pets and children's names).


There are many examples of scams, but just keep in mind that if the deal sounds too good to be true, then it most definitely is.  Keep yourself safe from scams and keep your hard-earned money in your pocket.


Additional information available from the FBI website:







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