There will always be the person who lives on the Equator to whom you can sell an electric heater. As they say, there is a sucker born every minute.
This is why cyber criminals will always have a field day, like the crook who posed as a tax man who got an elderly couple to send $100,000 to an offshore bank account after he tricked them.
This was a fear-based scam. The other two categories are compassion and self-interest. And just because a person can’t be frightened doesn’t mean that their heart strings can’t be tugged by a charity scam.
Elderly people and those with low income are more likely to be tricked. Other people…well, you just have to wonder what’s between their ears.
For example, the popular Microsoft scam involves a person calling the victim to tell them that their computer has a virus. The caller is a crook who wants to convince the victim to allow him remote access to the computer. Don’t the victims ever wonder how the heck Microsoft would even know their computer had a virus? Red flag, anyone?
Some say ask the caller for their number so you can call back–they’ll probably hang up. Probably. The scammer may have a number in place just to cover this possibility. Really, just hang up. It’s a scam.
Some people will just keep giving money out, again and again, to the same scammer; it’s not always a flash-in-the-pan payout. What compels them to behave this way? Perhaps it’s to continually convince themselves that they’re not dumb enough to be scammed.
Another way cons trap people is by asking for small amounts of money first; this lowers the victim’s guard.
More Popular Scams
- Charity. These can range from natural disaster relief to donations for made-up charities, or those with names very similar to well-known ones.
- Rental. The crook sends the landlord an overpayment by check of the first month’s rent before living there, then tells the landlord to wire back the difference. The check bounces.
- IRS: Always hang up on callers identifying themselves as tax people claiming you underpaid or are owed a refund, even if the caller ID says “IRS.”