Whether you are seeking offline or online quality products, services, or income opportunities (at a reasonable cost), it is imperative to be conscious and take nothing for granted. When one is desperate or urgently in need of something, caution can easily be absent from doing all that is necessary to receive what you desire. However, it is in the time sensitive moments that one should be sharply vigilant about the investment of their financial resources.
There have been numerous features on Dateline, 20/20, and 60 Minutes about various “confidence games,” aka “cons” or “scams” perpetrated by con artists with diverse background profiles (career criminals to referrals by family & friends to prominent business professionals). The most recent, worst example of scandalous fraud happened in 2009 with the hedge fund case of Bernard Madoff. He unconsciously swindled individual investors for an estimated total of $50 billion. For some, they lost their life/retirement savings and the estate planning phoenix are still pursuing a maximized effort to recover as many of the victims’ money as possible.
People from all walks of life have been victims of frauds or scams. Con artists have no respect of persons when it comes to “running their games.” What is crucial in avoiding these pitfalls is exercising common sense and being in tuned with any discrepancies regarding processes & outcomes. So, whether you have or have not been a victim of a fraud or scam, here are (5) steps to keep yourself & your assets safe:
1. Do thorough research. Use Google Search to find & read reviews. Check with respected offline/online business regulatory agencies such as the Better Business Bureau to confirm legitimacy of a business and that they operate by best & ethical practices.
2. Get satisfactory answers to all of your concerns & questions. An educated consumer is the best consumer. If your concerns and/or questions are not sufficiently answered or you don’t receive an answer within a reasonable timeline, you should not spend your time or money with that entity. Any suspicious behavior by an individual or group should immediately cause you to terminate further contact with them.
3. Request & receive a documented guarantee. As is the adage, “always get it in writing.” A documented guarantee protects you if the desired outcome is not realized; and if necessary, you need to take legal action. This is especially important when doing business with family & friends. You would never want a failed deal to negatively affect your most valuable relationships.
4. Conduct the transaction through a secure means. Only give the required, personal financial information through a verified safe portal (i.e. when processed, your info. is encrypted). This helps in avoiding identity theft.
5. Keep the source accountable. Whatever you’re planning to buy/invest in, make sure that you receive all of the promised deliverables and that they’re functional according to the guarantee policy. If you do not receive everything that is expected, you should immediately demand a credit or refund.
As it has fortunately been for me, if you follow these (5) proactive steps whenever needed, you can confidently be assured that you’ll never succumb to the pitfall of any fraudulent schemes or scams.