Updated: Sep 3, 2020
End scams by educating yourself with this article.
(This article was written in collaboration with Jearn Xiu Lee for Wix Reads)
Scammers have been around for a long time, but with technology advancements, it has made it easier for scammers to scam their victim. People might fall victim to a scam as they might be gullible, fearful, and potentially just not being aware about it. In this article, I would like to share with you how you could spot a potential scam and how to prevent yourself from being scammed.
Before I go through the scams that I am aware of with you, I would like to talk a bit about my life experience on this. As someone who has been in the game trading community for several years and operates an e-commerce store selling digital goods, I have personally witness several scams first hand and been victim to them before. I decided to write this article in hopes of educating some of you who might not be aware about scams as it struck me hard recently seeing one of my customer losing $400. Even though that isn’t the largest amount I have seen people getting scammed for, it showed me that some people still aren’t aware about the dangers of getting scammed, therefore I decided to write this.
I have seen this type of scam happening quite frequent when trading and selling on e-commerce. Scammers would impersonate highly reputable people in the trading community and ask the trader to go first. This scam might not be very obvious as they make their profile as similar to the actual person. In the trading community I'm in there is also a reputation system, the scammers have a way (which I would disclose) to make it so that you are checking the real reputable person's reputation instead of their own, deceiving you into thinking that you are talking to the real one. Another scenario might be that the scammer act as a normal trader but seek a middleman that is a friend of his and an impersonator of an actual middleman. They also tend to forge a fake reputation system so that you may think it is an actual community.
One red flag you will know is that the trade might be too good to be true when negotiating, scammers might make a deal that you just want to take it. When dealing anything, just use the website/server's middleman where you trade and don't go to any other server which you never heard of. Since scammers' profile picture are cropped out from the original, it will look pixelated and should be fairly visible so be vigilant. Finally, if you are using discord, ensure that you have mutual server with your trader, use discord developer id to check reputation if there is a reputation system installed.
2. Phone Scam
I’m quite sure that most of you might be aware about this scam as I believe it is one of the most common scam that have been used even until now. Similar to Number 1, instead of it being online, this is conducted on phone. Scammers would buy information or get leaked information about many individuals and start to dial to each one of them. Then they will impersonate to either be the IRS, banks or any other authority which you might fear. They will start saying how you have unpaid things, such as tax, overdue credit card or any other things which might shock you. Since they have information about you, it makes you think they are real hence you will follow whatever instructions they give you.
In this digital world, information are everywhere, be it leaked by accident or hacked. Therefore, don’t freak out if you were to receive this kind of call, just relax. You can just get information from the caller and call back to the customer service to verify just in case the caller is not a scammer. Never ever, give any personal information especially your credit card information to the caller.
3. 3rd Party Transaction
This was the scam that one of my buyer recently fell for. As a seller myself, I wasn’t able to help him out as I have no idea it was happening. This type of scam typically require the victim to not know about the medium of exchange, I'll use my case as an example. The victim found the scammer on a website selling an account and contacted him through discord. The scammer then convinced the victim to buy a virtual item off me (the third party) saying I am one of his staff and that this website have no transaction fee. The scammer then give the victim a trade link and instructed him to send it to me. At my end, it seemed to be a normal transaction and just proceed with it. The scammer now gets what he want and the victim have been scammed since he paid for the goods thinking he will get the account.
To protect yourself from this, just purchase at the website you found the seller, never go through any 3rd party website/seller. This should prevent most part of it since you won't not know what you are dealing with. As scammers account tend to get closed down when there are reports, one red flag would be the account creation date of the seller. It is worth noting but do not think that all newly created account are scammers since some might be legitimate trying to start a business. It would also be great if the website provide a seller/buyer protection so even if you are scammed on the website you are protected.
4. Phishing Links
This can be considered one of the most effortless scam as it just requires the scammer to share as much as possible. One way scammers bait their victim would be through giveaways. As greed and desperation of getting good in a game conceal someone, they will fall victim to them. Scammers would just randomly post links which direct you to a website that require your login information for you to claim your prize. By typing your information in, you are done for as they have access to your account now.
Just note that things never come without a price, want something good? Grind hard for it. Don’t hope for the easy way out. Know that most of this giveaway are fakes and there isn’t a need for your login information. To test whether the site is real/fake, simply key in information and see if it leads you to anything. If it does say wrong credentials, then you are probably in a legitimate website.
I hope this might help you out in the future if you ever encounter any of this issue which hopefully you don’t. This is advice to prevent yourself from getting scam and I hope you don’t get the wrong idea of me explaining to you on how to scam people. If you are interested in more finance related blog, click here. To learn more about other subjects, click here. To receive notifications when there’s an article, subscribe below!
Image from: https://qctimes.com/business/local/five-covid-19-stimulus-check-scams-to-avoid/article_fa96397d-096c-5d09-af6b-a07362da0a0d.html