Given an opportunity, there seems to be no limit to the creative ways con artists prey on the unwary. Oftentimes, those who want to deceive you will seem friendly, warm, generous and totally trustworthy. Here are some things that you should keep in mind whenever dealing with strangers.
- Be wary. Con artists depend upon our good nature and our tendency to believe what we are told if it sounds reasonable.
- Be skeptical. If it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true! Always refuse prizes or other offers that require you to make a purchase or divulge personal information before you can claim them.
- Be reserved. Never give private information to strangers. Be extremely careful about giving out your credit card, bank account or Social Security numbers to strangers who telephone or come to your door.
- Be sensible. Con men and scam artists rely on everyone being a little “greedy” at heart. Never invest in anything that requires you to act immediately, that requires you to give the person cash or that is explained with a flimsy story that cannot be verified.
- Be cautious. Anyone who comes to your door uninvited has no right to expect an invitation into your home. The best advice is to turn all unsolicited salespeople away. In the case of utility workers, have them wait outside while you look up the telephone number for the utility (don’t call the number they give you) and call to make certain the company has dispatched an employee to your area.
- Be responsible. Con men rely on the fact that many victims feel too ashamed to file a police complaint. Prove them wrong! If you suspect you’re the victim of a scam, call the police at once, so that you can help eliminate a criminal from your community and possibly save many others from becoming victims, too.