7 Financial Scams to Avoid ...

It's important to be aware of the increasing number of financial scams to avoid. More and more people want to steal your money, and they're frequently quite creative in their methods. Many scams rely on gullibility or greed, but even the most intelligent people can be fooled by the plausible tactics employed. Here are just some of the financial scams to avoid …

1. The "Microsoft" Call

This is one of the financial scams to avoid that is currently very popular among scammers. They call potential victims claiming to be from Microsoft, and that they have detected a problem with your computer. To fix this, you need to give them access to your computer. Of course, they are NOT from Microsoft, who wouldn’t have your phone number. So hang up immediately if you receive a call like this, as it is 100% scam.

2. Lottery Win

Scammers also contact you claiming that you have won a large sum in a lottery. All you have to do to receive your "winnings" is to pay an administration fee. Think about it - nobody gets entered in a lottery without buying a ticket! Pay the "administration fee," and you'll never see your promised winnings. You may even find that more money is stolen from your account.

3. Home Working

Lots of people are looking for work they can do at home, either to fit around childcare or because they are out of work. So there are also a lot of scams targeting would-be home workers. Many ask for a "training fee," or promise high earnings that cannot be achieved. Also watch out for the "overpayment processing fee" scam. This sends you a higher payment than what is supposedly owed to you as your fee, then asks you to refund the rest. You send the money, the cheque you've received is a fake, and you're down hundreds of dollars.

4. Targeting the Elderly

There are many scams aimed at elderly people, so keep an eye on your older relatives and neighbors. Such scams rely on their trusting natures and unwillingness to say no. They may involve overcharging them for goods or services, or letters asking them to send money (see the lottery scam). Some also pretend to be officials.

5. Romance

We should all know by now that people are not always what they seem on the internet. So don't be too trusting of anyone you meet online, especially if a "romance" develops. Romantic scammers can be very plausible, and make you believe that they really care for you. But you haven't met them, and you don't really know them. The requests for money to travel or pay urgent medical bills will soon start. Keep a cool head, and don't send them any money.

6. Emails from "Friends"

You may receive an urgent email from a friend, claiming to have been robbed while travelling. They ask you to help them out by sending them money. What's happened is that your friend's email has been hacked. Are they even travelling? It's not very likely, and you should know. Keep your money to yourself.

7. Rental Scams

In many cities the high demand for rental properties means that available apartments are quickly snapped up. This can lead tenants to rush into renting a property. Be careful though, as a common scam is for someone to advertise a property that they don't even own. They persuade you to pay a "reservation fee" to avoid losing the apartment, and promise to hand over the keys - but you don't see them, or your money, again. Check identification and ownership of the property before handing over any money.

Even the smartest person can be taken in by scams, so everyone needs to be very wary. As they say, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is! People don't just give money away; such scams rely on our hopes and dreams of a better life. Don't be fooled by these devious people and keep a tight hold of your money. Have you ever been targeted by a financial scam, and how did you spot that it was fake?