(Or — “if it’s too good to be true, then it’s too good to be true.”)
Maybe you’ve already heard by email from a mysterious international banking executive who would be so grateful if you might just let him park his millions in your bank account while he resettles in another country? Grateful to the tune of thousands, if not millions of dollars, if only you can send him your bank account number and routing codes.
All kinds of “titled” people appear in phishing emails, many of them TYPING IN FULL CAPS and with terrible spelling. The stories vary, but the common theme is that it’s too good to be true.
So why do people fall for them? Sometimes it’s desperation or—to cite another cliché, “you can’t fool an honest man”– greed.
Intelligent, respectable people can be blind to common sense, such as a Massachusetts psychotherapist and minister profiled by the New Yorker magazine.
Phishing, ponzi schemes: they’re among many scams that have been in the news lately.
Keep your eyes peeled for the following:
- Exceptionally high returns (peers couldn’t figure out how Bernie Madoff was getting 20% returns year after year)
- Pay Day loans (interest can approach 1,000%. Three zeros intended.)
- Check Cashing places
- Pawn shops
- RALs (tax Refund Anticipation Loans)
- Credit “Repair” Counselors (if they’re not accredited — some are worse than ambulance-chasing attorneys)
- Private Colleges (Some have been investigated for sharp, financial practice)
- Private Student Loans (see government warning)
- Commission-Based Selling “Opportunities” (everyone would be doing it if they made the income that is projected)
- Pyramid Sales “Opportunities” (as above)
- Work-From-Home “Opportunities” (advertised vs. telecommuting for your employer)
- Pay-Later “Opportunities” (financing can often mean paying a lot more later)
- Car Leasing (as above)
- “Extended Warranties (most are very expensive relative to the cost of the device)
- Prepaid “Credit” Cards (See “Debit and Credit Cards”)
- Secured “Credit” Cards (See “Debit and Credit Cards”)
- ID Theft “Protection” programs (an unnecessary monthly charge)
- Credit “Protection” programs (as above)
- Time Shares