8 Ways to Spot a Con Artist Before It’s Too Late
Money doesn’t grow on trees, so it’s important to protect ourselves from skilled predators who might try to con us into giving them our hard-earned money. These fraudsters know every trick in the book when it comes to manipulating us. But we can beat them at their own game by recognizing the danger signs.
Bright Side is here to help, and we listed some of the red flags that could help you identify whether the person approaching you is actually a con artist. We also have some bonus tips on what to do in case you come across one.
1. Assess whether their promises are too good to be true.
When a salesperson tells you that they can give you high profit with absolutely no risks, run for the hills. A lot of cash from out of nowhere is too good to be true, and every investment involves some kind of risk.
Experts also warn against people who throw out guaranteed claims like, “There’s no way you can lose money here.” These are part of their attempt to lure you into their offer.
2. Observe if they are trying to charm you, and if they are making eye contact.
One expert says that con artists are good at smooth-talking and making favorable first impressions. But we must avoid being swayed by their endearing words, and we need to trust our gut if something doesn’t feel right.
Another telltale sign to look out for is intense eye contact. A consultant explains that con artists try to win your trust by looking at you in a fond way, making you feel good, and giving you a sense of value.
3. Pay attention to the pronouns they use.
Con artists often use “we” when trying to persuade their victims. This strategy, dubbed by one expert as “forced teaming,” is used to create a shared experience and an illusion that they are in the same boat.
Phrases like “We’ve done it,” or “We’re a team,” may also come up. The goal is to make their victims feel bad about rejecting them, because they might appear rude.
4. See how they offer to handle your financial investments.
Financial services can get very technical and confusing, and that’s what advisors or brokers are for. When a so-called advisor offers to take full responsibility over your investments, instead of explaining them to you, it’s time to ring the warning bells.
Experts insist on never giving someone full control over your money, just because you feel like you’re too old or inexperienced for these financial deals. Seek help only from legitimate financial advisors and institutions.
5. Be aware that they might use your insecurities and emotions against you.
These smooth criminals tend to prey on your worst traits. They make you feel bad when you refuse to believe them, and they highlight your insecurities by making you feel incompetent when you don’t understand.
They also appeal to a person’s greed by offering excellent — but fake — deals. In cases of failed investments, they trigger fear among their victims and discourage them from complaining to the government.
6. Watch out for the eager beavers.
These hustlers will do any and everything to make the sale. This includes suddenly taking a personal interest in you, always calling back at the time they promised, and constantly updating you with good news about the investment.
Avoid falling for their racket, as they will most likely stop communicating with you after you’ve shelled out your money.
7. Take note of how they handle rejection.
Ignoring the word “No” is a universal signal that means you should not trust a person. According to an expert, the refusal to accept rejection implies that the person wants to take control.
You should also look out for high-pressure sales tactics, where you are forced to make purchases or investments without thinking them through. These swindlers usually coerce you into acting right away or the offer will expire.
8. Look out for cash requests and inquiries about your personal information.
Most fraudsters will likely ask for cash transactions or payments because checks leave a paper trail. Asking for your personal information like your account and ID numbers, are also common among “Phishing scams.”
If you receive a call or an e-mail informing you that you have a problem with your account, and they can fix it but they need to know your personal details first, do not fall into their trap.
Hang up the phone or do not open the attached e-mail files, because they might be viruses that gather personal data from your computer.
BONUS: Tips on how to deal with these con artists
- Ask how they got your name.
If they can’t give a good answer, there’s a possibility that they just randomly picked your name out of a directory, or that they found you through a previous victim.
- Ask about the service they are offering or ask for their business license.
Ask for details about their products. Con artists have a tendency to repeat themselves or go around in circles. It also can’t hurt to ask for their license number and double-check it with government agencies.
- Practice a rejection script.
Don’t be afraid to say no. You can respond with simple lines like, “I’m sorry, this is not a good time,” or “Sorry, I’m running late,” to send them away.
- Do not give money or financial information.
This includes your credit card, Social Security number, and bank account number. If they ask for an advance payment or processing fee, do not offer anything of value.
- Report them to the authorities.
Most scams are left unreported because the victims feel ashamed. But keep in mind that by going to the proper authorities, you are protecting yourself and other people as well.
Have you ever encountered a con artist? What scams or rackets are common where you live?