I recently wrote a post about Ways to Reduce Being Victim of Fraud. But this seems to be such a hot topic, I thought I’d list more ways to reduce being victim of fraud.
1) If it’s free, you don’t need to pay
Whether it is someone calling to notify you that you won something or you sign up for a free trial period, you should not have to pay or provide any payment information if it’s free.
For example, if someone called you notifying you that you won a cash prize, and that they need you to send them money to “process” the prize, I would just tell them to take off the processing fee from my winnings and send me the balance. Think about it, if they can pay you $10,000, and need $100 to process the prize, they can pay you $9,900 and keep $100 in the account that they money is sitting in. Here’s another way of thinking about it, when you buy a lottery ticket, you pay for it first, if you won, they don’t ask you for money again, because you paid ahead of time and you know what you are paying for. The point is, if someone ask you to pay after you found out you won, it’s a fake!!
The other example, if a website claims that you can get a 30-day free trial, they should not ask you for any payment information. Normally, on the 31st day, the free trial will end, they lock out your account and then ask you for payment information to continue the service. If it’s free, they shouldn’t ask you for any payment information, because you have nothing to pay for anyway!
2) Knowing what’s fake
I am very cautious about where I do my research. The reason is because if it is something bad, half the world is saying it is good and half the world is saying that it is bad. If it’s something legitimately good, half the world is saying that it is good, and half the world is saying that it is bad anyway! So you can’t win on that. If you want to find all the negative reviews about something good, you will find it easily. Just Google it, there is no shortage of negative information.
What is more difficult is how to confirm that something is actually good?
3) Knowing what’s legit
I may seem cynical, but in my experience, I think that just as many people pass up on a good thing, as they do get caught in something bad. I ask myself certain questions all the time. Why do people dismiss good ideas and fall for scams instead? What came first, they fell for a scam so they forever want to dismiss good ideas? Good ideas are too good to be true, so they miss out?
Anyway, I am not a psychologist, so I will not try to understand human behaviour, but I will however list out the methods that I use to help me determine whether something is legit and good.
I personally surround myself with people whom I trust know how to spot something good and legit. If I needed someone to tell me whether it is a bad idea, I only need to walk outside my home and talk to anything or research online. That information is easily accessible, but finding someone who has a knack for determining whether something is good, that is very hard to find. But when I find them, I am more than happy to share my ideas to help each other out. There does need to be a little give and take. It cannot always be give, give, give or take, take, take.
Contact the source directly
When it comes to miles and points especially, just contact the company that you trust directly. If you do not trust a company, then don’t even bother with it, because you will not have a source to turn to, to help you authenticate something.
For example, let’s say the Canada Revenue Agency called you and said that you owed taxes. It may sound like a suspicious call. What I would do is jot down the information, hang up and call back the Canada Revenue Agency number that you trust to confirm the information. However, if you do not trust the Canada Revenue Agency as a whole, then maybe you shouldn’t live in Canada. I know I used an extreme example, but it is the same idea with loyalty companies. If you do not trust a certain loyalty program as a whole, you will not have anyone from that company to contact to confirm certain information, so why bother collecting points with them?
Beware of competitors
If you watch sports, you will know that when a team wins the championship one year, the next year, they pretty much have a target on their backs. Everyone will play harder against them, because they know that they are the champion. But if you are up against the worst team in the league, then you may let your guard down a bit.
When a company is doing well, everyone is going to try to take them down. For example, Walmart or Apple do well in their sales, and I am fairly certain that they offer legitimate products. However, if you Google them, you will find that they have their fair share of negative reports. So much so that you almost think that they are illegal companies and need to be shut down by the government.
I have always taken negative comments with a grain of salt and I give positive comments a second look. The reason I say this is because if there is only bad stuff written about something, then I am dead in the water. What can I do with that information? Even if someone told me that the negative is not true, they need to support it with something positive. That is why I give positive a second look, because then at least I have a lead on where to look to authenticate it.
The point is, do your own research and come to your own conclusions. If it is bad, you will figure it out. If it is good, you will also figure it out!