Scammers and fraudsters are rife and targeting anyone in business, rich, famous, studying, working, holding the fort at home or retired. The tactics vary from time to time, region to region and target to target.
Be vigilant and look out for:
It is normal online to get friend requests but, if you hit the accept button, you may have just friended a scammer as scammers are lurking online and waiting to build relationships that could cost you money. What may seem like a kind gesture on your part to help ‘a friend’ in an emergency may be you inviting a leech to embed themselves in your life. Do try to avoid at all costs-sending money to people you have not met and that you do not have any way of proving who they say they are.
Also, a picture tells a story but sometimes the story may be fake. Video call or meet to see who you are being intimate with. Your heart strings may just be used to pull at your purse strings!
Land or Property Investment Scams
The property market is rife with bad elements that target and woo people to buy properties that do not exist or are not up for sale. Or to pay money for inclusion in none-existing lists. And, after money changes hands the process inevitably slows down and the people that did the deal disappear. The kick in the gut comes when the properties advertised and shown to you turn out not be up for sale. Or have entitled owners that do not want to sell.
Always do your due diligence and a deed search before you go further and hand over money.
The cell phone makes life so much easier for everyone. Unfortunately for scammers too and they will try to steal your money through phone calls or text messages. You could be told that you have been chosen for an opportunity to buy a product or service or receive free product trials. You could be offered money or a prize via call or text message.
Also, text message scams look like a normal text alert. From your service provider or from your bank, asking you to confirm information. The information could be a pin number or could be asking you to follow a link on your smart phone. Be careful. This is just a way to steal information. Also, beware that many lottery or raffle scammers like to use messaging apps. They claim that you’ve won a prize but must pay a fee to collect it. Others require you to provide personal information to enter a “contest.”
Record the phone number that shows up on your phone screen. And report it to your service provider. In person. Or call the national office in charge of internet related safety issues.
Many banking scams will come via email and the most notorious ones have got to be the Nigerian Advance Fee Frauds taking the form of an offer, via letter, e-mail or fax. Requesting to share a huge sum of money in return for using a recipient’s bank account to transfer money out of the country. Then use the bank account details to empty the victim’s bank account.
Report all suspicious requests to your bank immediately.
Many government offers, positions, scholarships and financial grants are usually advertised widely on radio, in the papers, in government department circulars or via local governments, universities, and other organizations.
Check with the source and don’t pay any money for an offer as government agencies don’t normally charge processing fees for any offers they are awarding.
Don’t be seduced by the person because they seem nice, trustworthy, or have a professional title. Don’t invest based on claims that other people, “just like you”, have invested. Don’t feel obligated to invest on the basis of ‘a sample’ they are showing you. Do your own research on the opportunity and the persons offering them. Be suspicious of any investment opportunity that promises high returns, without financial risk.
Always get all the details of an investment (ideally in writing) and dig deep to find out about costs, timing, risks, and other issues.
Some scammers set up fake organizations to take advantage of the public’s generosity. They especially take advantage of tragedies and disasters. Contact the Disaster Management Office especially if the scam or fraud is because of a natural disaster.
Do check out the charity with your friends, the consumer protection office or the Company Registry Office as they have most NGOs and other associations registered with them.
Be aware that fake charities often choose names that are close to well established charities.