If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. This old adage teaches a simple truth. You should be skeptical of offers you find on the web. Be wary when you find something like:

  • Constant high pressure to act immediately on a sales page.
  • An insanely high return on investment.
  • Weird upfront costs (e.g. cost for a free prize).
  • A person wants to pay you money, even if you are not selling anything and expects a refund from the possible overpayment.
  • Blatant misspellings. Not everyone has a strong command of the English language (I sure as hell don’t), however, look for multiple misspellings or obtuse sentence structures.

Don’t get duped

  • You will not receive money for forwarding chainmail, liking, or sharing any weird content.
  • You cannot win any U.S. lottery without playing.
  • You cannot win any foreign lottery. They are illegal in the U.S.
  • Your bank will never contact you to ask for your account number.
  • Your game client, social media, etc. will never ask you for your password (not by any communication medium). If they need to do something to your account, they can do it anyway since they are the account administrators.
  • Never wire money to people you don’t know.
  • Be very careful about work-at-home job offers. It’s unfortunate you have to sift through this crap on job finding websites.
  • There are no legitimate jobs that involve reshipping items (like SMC or resending letters)
  • There are no legitimate jobs that allow you to run financial instruments from your home, especially if you have no financial experience.

Educate yourself

  • Do not click on a link inside an email. Only do so if you initiated the email (e.g. password reset, new account validation, etc.). If you get a warning email about an online account somewhere, go to the website by typing it in the address bar and see if there are any account alerts. Again, do not click on the email link to investigate the warning email.
  • Most credit card providers allow you to set parameters so they can send a text message, email, or even call you if a large charge is made to your card. Don’t be afraid to cancel your credit card if your provider is not willing to work with you.
  • Do not offer too much information about yourself and do not respond to spam emails.
  • If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a website, check Google or Bing‘s website validation. Additionally, some hosting companies offer some type of validation as well. Also, you can check the company with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Keep your receipts from credit and debit card purchases. Once they clear in your bank account, compare the transactions against the receipts to your online access. Additionally, check your accounts for charges you don’t recognize.
  • Burn or shred sensitive documents instead of simply throwing them in the trash.
  • Check your credit annually by ordering a copy of your credit report from each of the 3 national credit bureaus (Annual Credit Report).
  • Report fraud received from the U.S. mail to Postal Inspectors.
  • Check out information or file a complaint at the Federal Trade Commission.

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