The Top 15 Sneaky Things Criminals Do That You Should Be Aware of
Frauds can curry favor even with the most cautious of us, and naive people are a godsend to them. Whatever new fraud schemes appear, you can always see through them if you think clearly.
Bright Side collected several pieces of advice on how to detect if someone’s trying to fool you, and what to do to keep the frauds from succeeding.
You’ve got an uninvited guest
- Step 1. Ask how they found your name and address.
If they cannot respond clearly, they might have found your contact information on the Internet or in the phone book.
- Step 2. Ask them to show documents proving their identity, company, and position. Examine them closely.
Most common frauds don’t have any identification documents. And if they have, a closer look can show they’re fake.
- Step 3. Call the company where they said they work, and ask if they’ve sent this person to you and why.
Every organization has a landline. If they gave you only a cell number or they refused to give a number at all, they are most likely frauds.
- Step 4. Ignore all the calls, and act immediately.
A fraud will strongly persuade you to act here and now in order not to miss your chance. But what seems like a great chance can turn out to be a "free lunch."
- Step 5. Check out the feedback about the company, its services and/or products on the Internet.
News about frauds travels fast over the Web. You can always find information about them on feedback sites. Two fraud schemes can be like two peas in a pod, and even the names of such "companies" can be the same.
- Step 6. Ask about the payment methods of the offered services or goods.
Frauds often require partial or full prepayment. They take either cash or transfers to e-wallets. This means that as soon as the transaction is finished, you have no chance of proving the order is paid or determining the fraud’s identity.
Warning signs if you’ve already made a deal
- Privacy. You’re asked not to say anything to anyone.
- The jackpot is right around the corner. The frauds cheer you up in every possible way, sponging more and more money off you. Your denial of reality can extend this deception beyond common sense because you don’t want to admit you were twisted round their little finger.
Disappearance. When you’ve already run out of patience and you start to uncover the frauds’ evil plans, they simply disappear. All communication links suddenly become unavailable.
- Situation 1
You received a text saying you won a huge prize, and you’re asked to transfer money for shipping or to pay a tax.
Your actions: Try to remember if you officially took part in any competitions or lotteries. If not, ignore and delete the message.
- Situation 2
You received a text saying that your bank card is blocked, and to unlock it you have to send a security code via text.
Your actions: Even a bank employee cannot ask for a security code. Ignore the text. It’s better to immediately call the bank that provided your card, using the phone number indicated on the back of the card.
- Situation 3
You received a text containing a link to download a card, music, picture, mobile app, or program from an unknown number.
Your actions: Don’t click the link. You’ll get a phone virus that’ll help the frauds to hack your account in a mobile banking app (if you have one) and steal your money. It can also be an automatic subscription to paid services. Download apps only in official stores. Install an antivirus on your smartphone or tablet and constantly update it.
- Situation 4
You sell something on the Internet. A customer calls you and offers to transfer money to your bank card right now. To do it, they ask for a card number, a CVC code (it’s on the back side of every card), and other information.
Your actions: You can tell them your card number — it’s kind of its address. You DON’T need a CVC code, an expiration date, or a cardholder name to make a transfer. But by possessing this information, frauds can take money from your bank account.
- Situation 5
You decided to buy something for an extremely attractive price in an online store.
Your actions: Explore the shipping options. If there’s no possibility to pay on delivery, refuse to buy from this store.
- Situation 6
You receive a message on a social network from your friend, asking you to lend them some money and send it to a bank card.
Your actions: Your friend’s account could be hacked. Try contacting them in any other way. If it’s impossible, start a conversation and ask something only you two know.
- Situation 7
You received a text asking for help, and there’s a phone number for reference.
Your actions: Don’t call unknown phone numbers. They can be paid, and you’ll lose money from your mobile account. Copy and paste several of the phrases into a search engine. The frauds often use the same texts and schemes for years. You’re likely to find feedback from people who have already been trapped.
Flyers or weird marks on your front door
Watch out for weird marks on your house or a flyer suddenly appearing on a doorstep. It might be an indication that your house is being cased for a robbery: some of those marks indicate that your house has a lot of valuables in it or that you are often not at home.