I remember being around 4 years old, and was very fascinated with the iron my mom was using to make my dad’s shirts “flat.” Even though she told me multiple times to not touch it because it was hot, I felt like I needed to test what she said. Yep, I got burnt!
Many people, in their everyday lives, make mistakes like this, having to learn the wrong way of things by getting burnt. But we’re here to give you a few heads-up about scams that can’t only burn you, but follow you for a really long time. Your money is your money, not some random person who wants to buy a house in Jamaica!
Make Big Bucks Working at Home!
While there are some legitimate work-at-home jobs, the ones that promise easy money for very little work are almost always scams. Be wary of any of the following:
- You’re asked to come up with an “up-front fee” (how about $32,450?!) to get started. Even if you need to acquire certain equipment to do the job, a legitimate work-at-home opportunity will let you buy it from an independent source.
- It’s a requirement that you hand over your bank account details. Direct deposit can be a great convenience, but a legitimate company will either be willing to cut you a paper check or pay you through a trusted intermediary.
- The job involves transferring money into and out of your account or depositing and sending out checks. In this era of free online bill payments, any legitimate company will have a cheaper way of moving its money around than cutting you a “commission” to forward it on.
Help! I’m Stranded in a Foreign Country!
Here’s how it works: The scammer contacts a parent or grandparent via email, telephone, text, or social networking site and purports to be a relative stranded overseas or at the hospital and in need of fast cash. The scammer may even put a “policeman” on the phone to add a legitimate air to the situation. Just remember:
- Hospitals are required to give emergency care regardless of a person’s ability to pay. Even if an uninsured person was hospitalized, the hospital will let that person walk out upon completion of care with either a payment plan or financial aid paperwork. If there’s a real medical problem, the payment can certainly be worked out later.
- If someone is legitimately overseas and can actually contact you, that means he or she has a passport and some method of payment. The state department has a process for replacing a lost or stolen passport. Lost or stolen credit cards can be replaced around the world, and major issuers have emergency contact numbers for fast response and assistance.
Let Us Help You Get Out of Debt
If money gets tight and the credit card balances get out of control, it might be tempting to turn to a credit card settlement company for help. Unfortunately, there are a lot of shady folks operating them, and the worst among them will charge you an arm and a leg to do what you could do by yourself.
Watch out for the following bad behaviors:
- It’s generally illegal for a debt settlement company to require you to pay an up-front fee to negotiate with your lenders on your behalf.
- If a settlement company makes you pay your money to them to have them pass it on to the credit card company, the “cure” may wind up worse than the disease. That could be a telltale sign that they are using a harmful strategy — not paying your bills until the credit card company is willing to be more flexible in order to get something back. The problem is, it’s your credit, not the settlement company’s, that gets destroyed by those missing payments. Plus, you may end up owing taxes on the canceled debt.
What scam did you ALMOST fall for? Let’s share at Nikki@kvne.com