By Daniel Price, Customer Impact Project Manager
We’ve blogged about scams before, but it’s always good have a refresher discussion about this sad fact of reality periodically. As soon as folks feel comfortable again, they can forget how easy it is to fall prey to these criminals.
I decided to write about this subject because I was the victim of one, and a family member of mine was as well. They were 2 separate types of scams, but geared at making the victim feel like something horrible has happened. For me, it was a “police officer” who was calling about a warrant. That of course never happened and there was no warrant (because I’m a good guy! I’d never do anything wrong J) but these scam artists get a name, some basic info they find on you, and then answer every question with another question or threat that makes it sound like they really are the authoritative figure they are pretending to be.
In the case of my family member, this one was unfortunately a scam into the thousands of dollars. Preying on a senior citizen by acting as their grandchild, saying they are stuck in jail and need to be bailed out. It was so sad to talk to this family member after the fact, because I can relate. Once you realize fully that it was a scam, you can see every step along the way the criminal led you down a path to believing it’s real.
In mystery shopping, everyone unfortunately is all too aware of scams. These aren’t the threatening and fear-instilling kind that happened to me and a family member, but these are usually in the too-good-too-be-true variety. This type usually consists of promises of $300+ to complete a mystery shop, criminals portraying themselves as legitimate companies and getting your information, and more. In these situations, there are a few things to remember:
- If it’s too good to be true, it probably IS
- No mystery shop company will ever send you a check up front before work is performed
In the other types of scams that draw you out due to a fearful situation, it’s important to remember no true law enforcement officer, taxing entity, or anyone will request that you pay them through the use of cards or information over the phone. NEVER give personal information out over the phone or online unless you can be absolutely certain it’s secure and private.
Increases in technology in this ever-evolving world also mean a massive increase in opportunities to scam folks. Always have your guard up, always ask if it sounds right, and always take a breath before ever doing anything that involves a transaction or giving information.
Another great idea is to talk with others about this. Most of the time people don’t want to speak up if they are victims of scams because it makes you feel so stupid. Other times people who considered it but realized after won’t talk either. Talk to your neighbors, your family, your loved ones(especially the senior citizens who may not be as technologically advanced). Warn them, help them, give them tips to help avoid falling prey to these awful criminals.