Now while some of us are not very aware of our inner caveman, advertisers and con men hone in on that instinct-driven part of your brain every day. They know what conditions allow for you to make impulse decisions. The first thing you need to understand is they want you being irresponsible. They want you to be in a state that will allow for you to make a decision right now, because they will likely lose you otherwise.
I believe that the majority of people are good. However, separation from the consequences of your actions through the internet, people just doing their jobs for corrupt companies, and the fact that the bad guys tend to use the shotgun method when scamming people has made trickery an epidemic in our world. We have to be careful out there! If you get a bad feeling in your gut about something, don’t do it! If it involves your finances, talk to someone you trust about it first.
It is also important that you use a good anti-virus software that alerts you to suspicious pages and links. I use Malwarebytes. They have a free version which is great.
- Scarcity: This deal is selling out now!!! 100 people are viewing this now! Only 5 left! You will never see this price again! So very rare is it in this day of surplus that there is a limited amount of something. The truth is that in our consumer driven culture you can usually find the same thing or an equivalent for an equal or cheaper price elsewhere. They don’t have to put popular concert tickets on Sale for them to sell out. Pay attention to what the prices of the item on sale are, because the item will be on sale again, or even permanently that way, keep track of things you are interested in. Don’t buy things on an impulse, wait, 24 hours minimum, or do a quick internet search for similar services, and if you still think it is a good idea, buy it then.
- Energy Saving: Get a free Gift card when you do X, Doorbusters! These have a broad range of how bad or good they are. They range from we will sell your information, sign you up for several services, and it will still be nearly impossible to get that free item; to loss leaders where they give you something for free or cheap to get you in the door to make other purchases. Be very wary of these when you do not see them through a reputable business, if you do decide to do them be ready for a high-pressure sale and at the very least to be tempted by other items. There is a reason they are giving something away; they are getting more out of it.
- Interest Piquing: Something has happened to your credit card, You’ve been chosen for a free cruise, I’m going to talk for 10 minutes to get you invested without ever telling you what the title was about, Outlandish Headline: You Won’t Believe who died! These range from benign trying to get your click on their link so they can get you to look at their stuff to very malicious information phishing to steal your identity. If you get an email that seems questionable or unexpected, make sure to check the email address to see if it looks suspicious. Do not click on any suspicious links! Go directly to the website and check it that way. (Malwarebytes helps with these.) For National Inquirer Style headlines, just go to google and search it rather than clicking the link to find out if it is just click bait. For an unexpected phone call do not give them any information about yourself, ask them to identify the company they work for, their names, and why they are calling you. Remember you can always call the institution directly if it seems suspicious.
- Intimidation: High-Pressure Sales, Extortion! These are hard to know about unless you receive a warning from somewhere else. If you are going to go into a sales environment, check reviews of the establishment. If you are going to a new city, do some searches on the internet about what scams are prevalent in the area. These are more common than you would think, especially in tourist areas.
- Predatory: Predatory scams take advantage of an individual’s weakness. Predatory programs for the poor such as payday loans, auto title loans, or any high-interest loans for quick cash, they take advantage of their desperation. For the elderly or other commonly isolated parties, a common scam is getting emotionally involved with the person for the purposes of leeching money. Predatory scams often prey on people who are trusting or naive, if it involves you wiring money to someone, especially someone in another country, steer clear!