Signs of a Scam

Following are some tips to help you recognize tell-tale signs of consumer “scams.”

  • The offer sounds too good to be true. An unbelievable-sounding deal probably is not true.
  • High-pressure sales tactics. A swindler often refuses to take no for an answer; he has a sensible-sounding answer for your every hesitation, inquiry, or objection.
  • Insistence on an immediate decision. Con artists often say you must make a decision “right now,” and they usually give a reason, like, “This offer will expire soon.”
  • You are one of just a few people eligible for the offer. Don’t believe it. Crooks often send out hundreds of thousands – and sometimes millions – of solicitations to consumers across the nation. All they need are a few, gullible consumers to make it worth their while.
  • Your credit card number is requested for verification. Do not provide your credit card number (or even just its expiration date) if you are not making a purchase, even if you are asked for it for “identification” or “verification” purposes, or to prove “eligibility” for the offer.
  • You are urged to provide money quickly. A crook may try to impress upon you the urgency of making an immediate decision by offering to send a delivery service to your home or office to pick up your check.
  • There is no risk. All investments have some risk, except for U.S. Government obligations. And if you are dealing with a swindler, any “money-back guarantee” made will simply not be honored.
  • You are given no detailed written information. If you must send money or provide a credit card number before the caller gives you the details in writing, be skeptical. Do not accept excuses such as, “It’s such a new offer we don’t have any written materials yet,” or “You’ll get written information after you pay.”
  • You are asked to trust the telemarketer. A con artist, unable to get you to take the bait with all of his other gimmicks, may ask you to “trust” him.
  • You are told you have won a prize, but you must pay for something before you can receive it. This payment can either be a requirement to purchase a minimum order of cleaning supplies or vitamins, or it can be a shipping/handling charge or a processing fee. Do not deal with a promoter who uses this tactic.

Information provided by United States Postal Inspection Service