Aug 21, 2009

Don't Get Ripped Off!

There is nothing good about getting ripped off. Whether it's an outright robber with a gun to your back, or a slick unknown giving a sad tale on the end of a phone wire, there is nothing good about being deceived by those who want your money.

The ugly truth is, everyone wants your money. What can you do about that?

1. Be very tight-lipped about your money. If you have cash in your house, keep your mouth shut. If people know you have it, they'll try to take it or cheat you out of it. There are neighborhoods where whitewall tires are mounted with the white part facing in, so as not to show off that the tires are new. If you don't flaunt your wealth, if you don't dress as if you have money, you won't call attention of burglars, thieves, and others who want what they think you have. This takes resistance to peer pressure. who doesn't like showing up for church wearing a new dress? Wear the old one a little longer, and hang onto your cash. You don't know when it might come in handy if your washing machine goes out or you need new tires. Mount them the way that works for your neighborhood, ok?

2. Be aware of some of the current scams, so that your "BS detectors" will go off when one of them comes to call. Never Never NEVER give out information (social security numbers, credit card, bank account information) over the phone! I don't care who they say they are. You just don't know. If someone calls to sell you something, even if it sounds good, the best way to shut him up is to tell him "Send me something in writing, and then I will make a decision." I've been saying this for years, and no one has ever sent me information in the mail. H'mmm. Wonder why?

Don't be swayed by the salesman who said the offer is ONLY GOOD NOW, and you must make a decision RIGHT NOW. I have noticed one thing about sales, whether groceries, garters, or gold: If the seller had it on sale once, he'll have it on sale again. You can wait. He's the one who's frantic. You're in control, and you only make purchasing decisions after you've read the fine print. Suppose they're not selling anything. Suppose you are told that someone you know is in jail, or they've found your lost puppy, and you have to give them bank account information to reimburse the retrieval your beloved, DON'T! It's a scam. Don't fall for it. Sure you want your puppy back, but the creep asking for your bank account info doesn't have your puppy. Make sure he doesn't have a sucker, either.

Here is a good list of Telemarketing Scams put out by (no relation to this author, and no endorsement assumed or implied.) Still, an informative list:

Top 10 Telemarketing Scams

1. Credit Card Offers - false promises of credit cards, even if credit is bad, for an upfront fee.
2. Prizes/Sweepstakes - request for payment based on promis of cash or valuable prizes that never materialize.
3. Work at home plans - kits sold on false promise of big profits from working at home.
4. Magazine Sales - con artists misrepresent the cost of subscriptions or pretend to be the publisher calling about renewals.
5. Advanced Fee Loans - false promises of business or personal loans, even if credit is bad, for an upfront fee.
6. Lotteries/Lottery Clubs - false claims that consumers have won, or can get help to win a lottery, often in a foreign country.
7. Buyers' Clubs - memberships in discount buying clubs consumers never agreed to join or through free trial offers.
8. Travel/Vacations - offers free or discount travel that never materializes.
9. Business Opportunities/Franchises - offers to help you start your own business with claims of high earnings with little effort.
10. Telephone Slamming - switching consumers' phone service to another carrier without consent.

We will visit the subject of rip-offs again, believe me. For now, be clever, and hang tough.

Whom will you challenge with the truth today?

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