Scammy scum

Scream - Day 29, Year 2

Image by purplemattfish via Flickr

On one of my 7 Deadly Sins posts, I wrote that I hated being ripped off. By that, I meant being charged exorbitant prices, while Fig took it to mean being scammed (a cultural thing, lost in translation?)

Which also got me thinking. I honestly believe that it’s basically pretty simple to avoid being a victim of fraud. Keep your personal details close at hand, and if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t invest unless you understand exactly what you’re getting into, and don’t fall for inflated, guaranteed returns.

The closest I’ve ever come to falling for a scam was back when I was 13 and was told a poem of mine had won some big contest, for which I would be flown to the US for some convention. Of course, I never heard anything more about that (which begs the question: what was the point of all that? After I did a little digging, it seemed a lot of people were told the exact same thing).

And then there was the great employment drought of 2009, in which T applied for a multitude of jobs. One of them involved something like invoicing and payment processing. All he had to do, they said – once we emailed for further details – was give them his bank account number. They would deposit funds into it and he would then be responsible for making payments. Yeah. No thanks.

Common sense, guys. It’s key. Unfortunately, I think even the best of us can be blinkered by the prospect of easy money. One of my friends actually gave out his bank details to a random guy over the internet, who of course never delivered the promised thousands of dollars.

What about you? Have you ever fallen for a scam?

7 thoughts on “Scammy scum

  • Reply Serenity Raiyne April 7, 2011 at 18:02

    I’ve never been scammed before, but my mother did have her identity stolen. It was nuts. She’s still recovering from it.

  • Reply Emily Jane April 8, 2011 at 09:30

    I haven’t fallen for a scam, but I did have someone hack my chequing account (through ATM) and I had about $800 spent halfway across the country that I didn’t have. It took about a month to be returned, but still, very scary! I DID however almost fall for the virus I had last week masquerading as Windows antivirus software….

  • Reply Melissa April 8, 2011 at 09:57

    I fell for a door-to-door fixed rate on gas heating scam. I pretty much knew it was a scam but I was overwhelmed and figured, “I’m not the property owner, so this contract can’t be valid.” My dad wasn’t too pleased, especially when the company insisted that it was him who signed the contract, not his idiot daughter. The only way to get out of the contract was to sell the house. Fortunately, that was in the cards anyway and the contract was broken a couple months later. …Live and learn?

  • Reply Kara April 8, 2011 at 10:19

    I’ve never fallen for a scam and I’m leery about anyone who comes to my door selling me something. Except for maybe Girl Guide cookies.

    Regardless, you can never be too careful these days, although I think some people are paranoid. Like the people who hide their Debit Card PIN with their hand while checking out through my till at work … like I’d remember your PIN out of the hundreds of cards I process everyday. Oh well.

  • Reply gem April 8, 2011 at 11:02

    I agree with you for the most part. And oh man, the money laundering scams were abundant when I was looking at jobs! I actually got a check in the mail once. They were all “Deposit this in your account, then wire us a portion of it and keep the rest for yourself.” And I was all “…seriously? This doesn’t even look like a real check to my eyes, why would the bank trust it?”

  • Reply Stephanie April 8, 2011 at 14:01

    I think I’m pretty good at using common sense to avoid being scammed. I’m always worried about older folks, who tend to be targeted with scams.
    I also remember those “contests” from when I was younger. There were a lot of mailings that said we were selected in a “Who’s who” list of some sort. Pay some money, and you’d get a book that lists that you were selected. Similar to that poetry thing, though maybe then you could at least say your poetry had been published!
    Grrr. Scams. Those make me angry.

  • Reply Fig April 8, 2011 at 16:17

    I don’t remember my response, but I knew you meant rip off in the way of being charged high prices. That’s generally how I think of it and in general consider a lot of life in NZ to be a rip off. It’s unfortunate.

    I also thought of it in terms of being scammed just because I had read several articles about people being scammed in Christchurch. Another unfortunate occurrence.

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