When the world changes rapidly and suddenly people are unemployed and in need of cash, the scams and tricks seem to come from all directions. Financially vulnerable people with more time on their hands tend to suspend their disbelief when it comes to cons, tricks, and the ever-present spam email, phone call, or text.
Now is the time to be more diligent and vigilant when it comes to spotting and resisting those tricks that crooks and thieves use to prey on the needy. You have got to work hard at it and resist with all your might.
Here are some tips I have for individuals and families to help them in this time of worldwide crisis. We have got to work together with law enforcement to not fall for these sinister ways of criminals stealing your money.
- Phone scams. Try not to answer the phone if you do not recognize the number. Most, if not all, government agencies will not use the telephone number to try to collect fines or payments over the phone. Almost all correspondence regarding debt collection is done through the mail, or should be done through the mail. Don’t start conversations with people over the phone if they called you and you didn’t call them, as these calls are often just scams lying in wait.
- Text scams. Do you get text messages from strangers and sometimes the text have links? Do not reply to the texts and do not click on the links. Try and block those numbers if your messaging service allows it.
- Money demands. Are you in the middle of something dramatic where someone is asking that you get a large some of money and stay quiet about it? That happens all the time. Make sure you contact other family members to see what they think. You can also contact the authorities if you think it is trouble. Be alert to anything out of the blue that involves your money.
- Spam emails. Do your best to never open a spam mail, and never open a junk email that asks you to click on a link to confirm your account information. Stay away from your spam or junk email folders. A lot of spam emails are tricks to get you to click on a link which then infects your computer with a virus.
- Strangers doing solicitation. Are you having unknown people come around knocking on your door trying to sell you things? Make sure you put up a no-soliciting sign as soon as possible, and then beyond that simply don’t open the door.
- Credit card use. Try not to use your credit cards at gas stations that have a history of being used by criminals to get customers’ credit card information. Sometimes it is hard to know. Try and frequent a gas station that has a staff watching the cars and customers and that goes out to check the credit card machines regularly.
- Debit card use. Try never to use your debit card at any place beside a bank. If you use your pin number on a device out in public, someone can get that pin and also your debit card number and make completely new debit cards with your data. And then they can start buying things with your money.
Do what you can do every day to detect these tricks and inform others about them. When bad people get desperate, they don’t care about the rules of society any more because they just want their stolen money or merchandise.
Be strong about watching for fraud. Look up your local and national law enforcement websites and review their tips on how to prevent yourself from being ripped off. We have to guard our money and belongings now more than ever, when times are hard and morally-challenged individuals try to steal what doesn’t belong to them.