If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
1. Never give out a credit card number (or social security number) to anyone who calls you on the telephone. If you call a reputable merchant to purchase by phone, keep a written record of what you ordered, what the prices were, and how you paid.
2. You cannot be required to pay a fee if you have “won a prize” in a contest. Tell the caller he or she is breaking the law and hang up.
3. Beware of people with stock tips, “sure thing” investment opportunities, and similar “secret” ways to make you rich. The only person getting rich is the crook.
4. If someone mails you unsolicited merchandise you have the right to keep it without paying for it or returning it.
5. Beware of high-pressure sales tactics, whether door-to-door or via telephone. You have the right to demand all information in writing and to insist on having time to read it (and show it to a friend or family member). Honest business employees rarely pressure you to act now.
6. Many con artists work the telephones using the names of police departments, church groups, and other local groups to try to get money from you. Local and national charities are always glad to send information before you give.
7. Be alert to medical quacks. Quick cures, miracle drugs, and the like are almost always worthy of suspicion. Call your family doctor for advice before buying.
8. Beware of two old schemes. If a stranger offers to split “found money” with you but suggests you each leave a cash deposit with someone, you’ll never see your cash (or the found money) again. If anyone claims to need you to withdraw funds from a bank or savings and loan to “test the honesty of a teller”, tell them you leave those actions to properly credentialed federal and state authorities (who never ask for such volunteers).
Fraud Tip: Whenever you make a decision regarding a potential large amount of money, ask a lawyer or a knowledgeable trusted friend or family member for his or her opinion. Don’t let anyone rush you into signing anything! Take your time to look over and get advice on insurance policies, sales agreements and contracts of any kind.