The 10 best tips to recognizing a scam
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
Have you ever walked into a store and they’re doing product demonstrations where they make you listen to a spiel before you get a lousy chip clip holder that falls apart in your hands?
Spiels like that exist by the thousandfold, uniquely disguised as the same pile of crap once you peel away the layers.
Fortunately for me, age has given me the wisdom to avoid a lot of scams just by simply remembering one piece of advice I learned long ago…
If you don’t get to the point immediately, then you are building up a scam.
Think about all the interactions you’ve had with scammers in the past. Were they quick about getting to the point?
Don’t ever be afraid to be “the bad guy” and walk away. If you didn’t know you needed it when you woke up that morning, you still don’t need it.
Legitimate companies will get their product in your face immediately without hemming and hawing about details. They’ll show you their product, give you facts, then tell you how you can’t live without their product. They’re proud of their products because they work hard to develop just the right item that most people will love.
Legitimate companies know that they have about 7 seconds to prove that they are worthy of your time and sale.
How did your last scammer stack up to a legitimate salesperson? Did they properly greet you using your name? Did they thank you for your time? Did they give you proper contact information such as an address, phone number, or email address? How do they represent themselves in person or with their online presence? Did they get to the point immediately?
The whole point of this post is because of the multiple Instagram messages I get on a weekly basis. In any given week I get anywhere from 1-3 private messages from people wanting to sell me something, help me lose weight, or just want to be my girlfriend.
The conversation I had with a girl (no names) this week was the third of 4 similar conversations I’ve had this week and it’s only Tuesday. I’m going to let you judge if she’s legitimate or not…
Woman: Hey girly!! I have a question (heart icon)
Me: Ok ask.
Woman: I was wondering if you would want to be a 90-day product tester for me using one or some of our products?! I am looking for 2 people right now… I came across your page and think you’re gorgeous and I would love your help to build my portfolio!! You would get a huge discount for helping me out !! (smiley with hearts for eyes icon) Would you be interested?
Me: Thank you. What kind of product did you have in mind? FYI: I can not eat gluten, dairy, legumes, or alcohol. Sucks the fun out of eating but I feel better that way.
Me: I then mentioned that I know a person with the same name as her but won’t mention it here and that the person I know is also a kindergarten teacher like her Instagram claims she is.
Woman: That’s crazy! (smiley icon) Would you happen to have a number I can text more information to? I’m the worst at Instagram direct.
Me: Just copy and paste what you need to say here.
Me: You contacted me. I would expect that you would get to the point by now. People who are proud of their products mention them quickly. Scammers delay and don’t get to the point right away.
Woman: First off I am not a scammer and am proud of my products and company. I post about both all the time. My products have helped me get healthier while helping my family out financially as well. It is easier for me to text because I work full time as a teacher (IG and other social media sites are blocked on WiFi at work so I can’t respond on them during breaks or lunch or even after or before school) and plus I have 2 toddlers.
Woman: your list of ingredients narrowed down our products that would work for you quite a bit so I felt like I would need to send more info to make sure the ones I recommend would work for you. You don’t have to be rude and insinuate that I am a scammer.
Me: I apologize for coming off as rude.
Can you see where the whole conversation went wrong? The conversation started off with her trying to be my buddy by calling me girly. Girl, or girly is reserved for only the women that I know and love. Know your audience. Be professional.
Her second mistake was not mentioning the product that she supposedly represents. Did you notice she still hadn’t mentioned it by the end of our conversation? That conversation went on for 2 days so she had ample opportunity to mention it.
If you don’t mention your product right away, it’s probably a scam.
Her third mistake was asking me for my phone number without offering her contact information first. I’m sorry, I’m just not giving out that information to anyone on blind faith.
The fourth mistake was mentioning you can’t send me messages on Instagram while at work because your social media is blocked, but texting is fine. Uh… do you not have children to attend to? Call me crazy but If you’re at work and social media is blocked, that means you shouldn’t be on your phone, period!
The fifth mistake, was you called me rude. It’s true, I was. I expect people to get to the point immediately. I don’t like people wasting my time. When I was rude you should have approached the conversation in another direction to diffuse the situation. YOU contacted me so I expected YOU to take control of the conversation and get to the point. You did not.
The sixth mistake, I looked at your Instagram. You said that you are proud of your product yet I don’t see a physical product anywhere on your Instagram. Perhaps you are new and have yet to sell a product? At any rate, I don’t see one product photo.
So is the girl a scam? Probably not, she’s just a poor salesperson who doesn’t know how to deal with impatient people (me).
Who are the true scammers? Here are some tips to help you wade through the garbage online.
- They just built their online presence and only have 1 or 2 photos.
- They don’t have any contact information.
- They don’t have multiple ways to find them online (linked social accounts, etc.)
- Their names don’t match their personality. The guy who wanted to date me went by the name of Allison. Not today, scammer, not today.
- Their photos don’t match the life that they claim. (You’d be surprised how many people claim to be Army retired and have a Marine uniform on.)
- Google the facts they have given you if you’re unsure of what they are telling you.
- Type in their name and “scam” into a search engine.
- Research the images that they use. To do that go to google.com In the upper right-hand part of the page you’ll see the words “images” click on that, and you can either upload the image or put the image URL in to see if the online personality goes with the person’s real name.
- Someone acting like your best friend when they are really a stranger.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it is. You are not the exception, it really is too good to be true.
Take Away Advice: Don’t ever be afraid to be “the bad guy” and walk away. If you didn’t know you needed it when you woke up that morning, you still don’t need it.