How can I deal with scammers?

Ten scams that even smart people fall for

Do you think that only dull-witted people fall into the clutches of scammers, but you are not in danger? Who now would believe that he won an iPhone or received an inheritance from an unknown rich uncle? But con artists do not just earn their bread and butter: they can find an approach to almost anyone.

1. Treatment fees

Fraudulent scheme:

Information about a seriously ill child who urgently needs expensive treatment, medicine, equipment, or something else is posted on the Internet. The ad has pictures and even medical documents, but often the images are fuzzy and the medical history is incomplete. And, of course, the number of the card to which the money should be transferred.

Children, unfortunately, do suffer from serious illnesses, including cancer, and their relatives raise funds for treatment. By early 2018, there were 25,000 children on medical records. So the authors of the ads on the Internet may indeed be desperate parents.

But there is a good chance that behind such posts are crooks who simply stole someone else's photos and scans of documents, perhaps changed the data in graphic editors and use it for profit. Sometimes they even create clones of the sites of charitable foundations.

How not to get caught?

Verify information: ask for a full set of documents and reports on received and spent funds, run pictures and scans through a Google photo search. You can find out the number of the hospital where the person is being treated, and call them to check if they really have such a patient. If the collection is conducted on behalf of a charitable foundation, it is worth finding official contacts and clarifying whether the organization is really involved.

2. False buyer

A fraudulent scheme:

You list an item on online marketplaces for used items. You receive a call from a potential buyer, asking a few questions. Sometimes even at this stage you can suspect a problem: questions are very superficial and give away that the interlocutor does not understand what he wants to buy. Then the "buyer" starts bemoaning the fact that he lives far away or is out of town. He offers to send a courier or a cab driver and to transfer the payment to the bank card.

Next, for some reason you need not only your card number, but also the date of issue, the first and last name of the owner, and, most importantly, a three-digit CVC code. The explanations are usually rather vague: allegedly the funds are transferred from the organization's account, it's a more complicated procedure and everything in that vein. These data may be enough to leave you without money, but sometimes fraudsters also ask you to tell them the code from the SMS.

Often all this happens in a hurry and nervousness, because an irritated cab driver or courier is already standing nearby. Having got hold of a code, the swindlers may pay with your card for purchases or transfer money to another account.

How not to get caught?

Do not tell anyone the CVC, and especially the code from the SMS, to transfer only 16- or 18-digit numbers. If you took the bait of swindlers and gave them all the data, call your bank immediately and block the card.

3. Run down pedestrian

Fraudulent scheme:

The victim backs up or drives slowly through the yards. Suddenly someone falls to the ground in front of the car screaming. The driver jumps out of the car in horror and sees the crouching man, who declares that he has been run over and that he is going to go to the police.

Coincidentally, a "chance" witness happens to be there, who, of course, has videotaped everything and agrees to help the victim. The driver is demanded to pay money for a peaceful resolution of the conflict and he agrees, because otherwise he will be deprived of his license at least and will have to pay a fine.

How not to get caught?

To begin with put DVR, which will show that you have not violated traffic rules, and the pedestrian himself rushed under the wheels.

You don't have a DVR, but you're sure it wasn't your fault? Insist on calling the police yourself: swindlers will withdraw after that. If possible, look for witnesses and ask security guards, salespeople, employees of the management company for surveillance footage - depending on where the incident occurred.

4. Bottle under the bumper.

Fraudulent scheme:

This trick is used to lure a person out of a car. Fraudsters discreetly place an empty plastic five-liter bottle under the front bumper. The driver hears a crunch and rattle, gets out of the car, looks under the bumper. At this time, money and valuables are taken out of the car.

There are many such tricks: they can pierce a tire, throw a bag of kefir on the windshield. And all with one purpose: to make the driver come out to see what's wrong and leave the door unlocked.

How not to get caught?

Always lock your car doors, even if you think you're getting out for a second.

5. Ragged gasmen, utilitiesmen, and other professionals.

Fraudulent scheme:

Scammers go to apartments, presenting themselves as insurers, employees of gas services, management companies, and so on. They check stoves, pipes and communications, they are sure to find the breakage and offer to install expensive equipment, such as meters or a gas analyzer, which will react to the leak and help avoid fire and explosion.

Scammers can pressure, manipulate, and intimidate. If the tenants do agree to install the device, it turns out later that it is completely useless. And this, we can say, is still a positive outcome of the meeting with such swindlers. In some cases, the case may end with the robbery of the apartment.

How not to get caught?

Do not open the door until you know what organization they came to you from and the name of the visitors. Then call your property management company or gas company to find out if they have been sent to your home.

6. Friend in trouble.

Fraudulent scheme:

On the page of an acquaintance in the social networking site there is a post about his grief. A close relative dies, someone has had an accident, someone has been arrested. Urgently need help, transfer money, here's the card number. Sometimes there are even photos of medical documents attached to the post.

A mailing to friends begins. Someone who responds and sends some amount of money soon discovers that he helped the swindlers make money: the page was hacked, and the images of documents were stolen from other sources and altered in graphic editors.

There is another, more dramatic version of the same scam. Fraudsters call or write to the victim, saying that her loved one is in trouble and that in order to help him out, you need to transfer money. Variants can be different: caught on drugs, hit someone, killed someone, got into a fight. Now he is detained and cannot speak for himself. The most advanced adventurers call as if from the personal phone number of the "perpetrator" - with the help of programs that substitute numbers.

How not to get caught?

Carefully check the information, ask questions, the answers to which only the real owner of the page can know. Contact your acquaintance or someone you know by phone, email, or other social networking sites.

7. Chickens of the City of N.

Fraudulent scheme:

A stranger writes to the girl in the social network and presents himself as the administrator of the group "Chickens of so-and-so town", "Whores of so-and-so town" and similar dubious communities. He says that the post about her was thrown in the proposed community news. Its author claims that she is not too picky in sexual relations and in general a woman with low social responsibility. To be sure, the scammer shows a screenshot of the very same news: there's a picture of the girl and a couple of unflattering epithets.

Then the scammer offers to remove the post - of course, for a fee. Even though the victim knows that this is a lie, he is afraid for his reputation and remits the money.

How not to get caught?

Alas, there is no way, except not to use social networks. But if they are trying to blackmail you in such a way, the best strategy is to write a complaint to the technical support service and block the scammers. Or threaten to report them to the police for slander and insult.

8. Blocked card.

Fraudulent scheme:

You receive a message that your card is blocked. To unblock it you need to call the phone number indicated in the text message.

Further events can unfold in different ways. For example, the call will be charged and you will be charged. Or you will find yourself on the "bank employee" who will try to get the full information about the card, including the CVC and the confirmation code from the SMS. And then, you know, the account can lose a lot of weight.

By the way, such messages and calls do not always come from unknown numbers. Sometimes fraudsters use programs that imitate real bank numbers.

How not to get caught?

When you receive a message or call, do not rush to follow the instructions. Dial the phone number on the back of your card and tell the employees what happened. Besides, no real bank employee will ask you for the code from a text message.

9. Tea Scams.

Fraudulent scheme:

On the street, promoters approach the victim and insistently invite him to a free tea tasting. After the treat, they offer to buy the product at a deep discount: "Only today, only now, only for you, you are such a nice customer. And the sums are not trivial - about 2 dollars for a packet of tea.

When people refuse, they are asked to pay at least a little for the tasting. They press for pity: allegedly the manager is fined if the client does not buy anything. During the tea party, manipulative techniques are used: babbling in patter, touching the person, often calling him by his first name. And in this way - through blackmail, threats, requests and complaints - they extort money from the victim.

Beauty salons use a similar scheme. They invite people to supposedly free beauty treatments and through psychological pressure they force them to buy a whole suitcase of "unique" and "very effective" cosmetics, equal to a month's salary. Often on credit.

How not to get caught?

There is really only one piece of advice. Do not go to any unfamiliar salon for any procedure and categorically refuse the offers of street bidders. Because if you are still lured to some action or tasting, it will be very difficult to leave with a full wallet, because the scammers have a good command of different techniques of manipulation. You will not notice how you give them your money.

10. Money or Fines.

A fraudulent scheme:

A fraudster finds a car that is parked in violation of the traffic rules. He puts a note under the windshield wiper, demanding to transfer money, for example, 500 dollars to the Qiwi-wallet. Threatens, that if the owner of the car does not do it, the photographic evidence of violation will be sent to the traffic police and then they will have to pay a fine up to 5 000 dollars.

How not to get caught?

First, park by the rules. Second, throw away the threatening sheet: even if you pay the con artists, there is nothing to stop them from keeping their promise and sending the photos. You should understand in advance that you will have to pay a fine for wrong parking.

How to resist the tricks of scammers?

All fraud schemes are always based on the speculation of our own fears and vices. Swindlers first build up tension, cause a sense of anxiety or greed, there is excessive excitement. In this state, a person feels the need to take action to get what he wants as soon as possible.

And here the cheater as if offers help, acts as a savior, a support in a critical situation. The individual is told what he must do in order to save himself from legal problems, large expenses, or, conversely, a profit. Our threshold of criticality is lowered, there is sympathy, unconscious trust in the interlocutor.

What fears do scammers most often speculate on?

Fear of saying "no" and consequently appearing rude, rude, insensitive. Fear of making a decision. Doing it on our own, we become vulnerable: not always confident in their rightness, not always ready to take responsibility for the consequences. Swindlers offer a ready-made solution. Fear of losing freedom, money or familiar comfort. Fear of losing loved ones. Fear of missing out on opportunities to improve their lives.

The scenario of scammers is always based on the predictability of human behavior in stressful situations. Thus, the plot is sort of predetermined from the start. If you have fallen under the influence of cheaters, your task is to change the scenario, so that everything would not go according to their plan.

What should you do?

Keep a physical and emotional distance from scammers. Critically evaluate each intervention and ask yourself questions: "Why am I going to commit this action?", "What will they get if I do this?" Behave against expected reactions. Take the initiative away from the scammers, start directing this play yourself. For example, the one who set up the traffic incident expects you to be outraged, upset, argue, or cry. Instead, sing a song, dance, pretend to be dumb - don't be afraid to appear strange. The more unusual your behavior, the faster you will disarm the scammer. Ask questions that don't fit in the script to move the cheater's attention to another topic and break the usual pattern. For example, if they are trying to get your card details and you can't break contact (leave, hang up), you could say something like, "Listen, what cool sneakers you have! Where did you get them? Let me try them on, I think we're the same size. What's the big deal?" And then ask the most ridiculous questions, until you discourage your “well-wisher”.

Many people think that since they are adults and smart, they are not in danger of becoming a victim of fraud. But it is not so. At certain times in life, any of us can get caught in the trap. Share this text in social networks to tell us what methods scammers use and how you can resist them.

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