Shark Week begins Sunday on The Discovery Channel. And once again it got me to thinking about the similarities between sharks and scam artists.
Then I got to reading a Los Angeles Times article about Shark Week and was surprised to learn how different sharks are from scam artists. Turns out I have erroneously been lumping them in the same pool of bad actors.
Now if I had a choice, I’d rather pal around with sharks.
“Sharks never just go out and intentionally hunt humans,” said TV producer Brooke Runnette. Whereas scam artists are constantly on the hunt for vulnerable victims, be it on the Internet, on TV, even at your front door.
Sal Jorgensen, a marine biologist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, went so far as to say, “They’re not the wandering rogues we seem to think they are. If we know where they’re going to be at specific times, we can better avoid human-shark interactions.”
Unfortunately, we humans are not always as good at knowing where to keep an eye out for scam artists. That three-bedroom apartment listed on Craigslist for $400 a month – even though studios begin at $750 – can’t possibly be a scam. Or can it? And that email from your bank asking for updated information has to be legit, right? And let’s not even start on all those offers for foreign lotteries, sweepstakes and millions of dollars sitting in a foreign bank waiting to be transferred into your own account.
And of course there are sharks, um, I mean scam artists, waiting for us to fall for an endless variety of work-from-home scams, get-rich schemes and imposter phone calls.
But we don’t have to be victims. Just like surfers and swimmers who must pay attention to shark sightings – or the possibility of sharks – we must become ever-vigilant in questioning offers, email and situations that scream THIS IS A SCAM. Start by regularly checking your BBB for the latest information on scams that affect both businesses and consumers.