Scams are on the increase

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Scams. They run the gamut. From social media, to mail fraud to even so-called friends, scams are everywhere.

Heck, I even had a “friend” from town here that left his wife of 20 years, hit the bottle hard, and then started running fake travel scams. He doesn’t know it yet but prosecution is forth coming. 

Scum is found everywhere I suppose. 

Last week, I got the proverbial friend request from Facebook. The scam folks there usually have a pleasant looking elderly face or sometimes people you know whose profile they’ve hacked and then send you a friend request. You think, that’s odd, I thought we were already friends. Sometimes it’s from someone you have no idea who it is but they look nice enough.

They always hit you through messenger saying “how are you today?  Have you heard the good news?  I just got $50,000 through this government grant program”. 

They then give you contact information to some agent to gather your information and then ask you for some money to get the grant processed.

Other scams come in a variety of emails. The most popular one is that you have inherited millions of dollars from some distant relative, or some sheik or lawyer needs help transferring a humongous sum of money out of unknown beckenstein and if you help, you’ll get a hefty fee.

Every day you hear of another scam. Fake contractors coming to your door, duct cleaning or goods for sale on social media, mail order cars, foreign women looking for husbands, handsome hunks targeting lonely ladies, unknown links to fake invoices or messages in your email, text messages looking for political donations,

Peruse the NEXTDOOR app sometime and it’s rife with stories of this scam or another. 

Heck, even Wall Street is infested with investment scams. The previous head of the NASDAQ exchange was a guy named Bernie Madoff. And how many elected officials have been caught with their hand in the illegal cookie jar? Way too many to list here. 

Need I say more?

With inflation running hot and heavy, economies spiraling into the gutter, governments run amok spending money they don’t have, statues being torn asunder, theft laws being gutted, the family unit being torn to shreds, and rampant drug abuse, it’s no wonder there are crooks everywhere.

There are many rules I live by while surviving 68 years on the planet earth. One of them is to remind the man in the mirror if it’s too good to be true, it usually ain’t. Another is to accept the fact that there is going to be a lot of people trying to take your stuff. 

Newer rules include don’t open unknown attachments or links from people you don’t know. 

Heck, I’m even careful with things from people I do know. Crooks are so good nowadays, who’s on the other line may not be the person you think it is.

It’s incredible how ingenious scams of all types have become. 

And nothing stings like being taken, right?

The approach by everyone should now be one of “suspect everything” that has to do with anything. 

Harsh, I know, but diligence doesn’t have to be all consuming. It just means being careful, and keep the jaundice eyeball open at all times.

Like the investment annuity, or any investment for that matter, for all things in life use the rule “if you don’t understand it, don’t trust it, don’t like it, doesn’t sound right, or is presented by someone who seems a bit “off”, don’t do it.

There really are no hard fast rules to prevent being taken, but be wary fronting money, paying in advance, paying cash in certain situations, not getting a receipt, getting suspicious looking paperwork or buying something sight unseen, doing business with people you don’t know, just met or can’t be verified in some way or another.

Obviously there are exceptions to everything and each situation is different. Just use your head and start with hesitancy, then gradually work your way through to a sound transaction or action, or perhaps just deciding against it.

Caveat Emptor is Greek for buyer beware

With all the scams and cons running amok and among us, if it ain’t expected, sounds too good to be true, doesn’t look, smell or feel right, maybe it ain’t.

Be careful out there.

Watching the markets so you dont have to    

This article expresses the opinion of Marc Cuniberti and is not meant as investment advice, or a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, nor represents the opinion of any bank, investment firm or RIA, nor this media outlet, its staff, members or underwriters. Mr. Cuniberti holds a B.A. in Economics with honors, 1979, and California Insurance License #0L34249 His insurance agency is BAP INC. insurance services.  Email: [email protected] 

Marc Cuniberti

Marc Cuniberti

Marc Cuniberti
Host of Money Matters Radio on 67 radio stations nationwide, Financial and insurance columnist for the Union and 5 other statewide newspapers, owner BAP insurance and registered financial advisor representative at Vantage Financial. California Insurance License OL34249 and feature on ABC and NBC television and a host of TV documentaries on his financial insights.