When it comes to scams, here's how to avoid being an "April Fool"

March 23, 2014

If you haven't already, chances are good that you'll have a run-in with a schemer. It might be a phishing email asking you to click on a link, a phone call telling you your computer has been compromised, or a contractor who shows up at your door ready to trim your trees.

Schemes are everywhere. Each and every day, schemers are finding new and clever ways to cheat people out of their hard-earned money. While the schemes are constantly changing, the characteristics of a scheme victim remain fairly constant. Understanding what scheme victims have in common can help you avoid being an "April Fool" and falling for the next scheme that comes your way.

Here's what scheme victims have in common...

  • They take someone at their word. They don't do their homework, ask questions, or check with the BBB.
  • They let themselves get emotional. They are often times motivated by fear, greed, romance, or excitement.
  • They don't recognize common persuasion tactics.
  • They act impulsively. They download files, click on pop-up ads, sign-up for trial offers and open emails from unknown senders.
  • They are afraid of being rude. They don't want to hang up the phone or shut the door.
  • They don't protect their personal information. They don't shred documents or keep things locked up. They use the same password for EVERY account.
  • They live alone or are isolated in some way.
  • They are worried about money. They may have recently lost their job or have increased debt.
  • They don't read the fine print. Perhaps they left their reading glasses at home.
  • They want so much to believe the lie that they hush the logical "voice of reason" inside them.
  • They rush into decisions.
  • They are embarrassed. They won't tell anyone about being schemed so the scheme (and the schemers) continue.