I was looking through all the emails and phone messages you’ve sent, trying to come up with ways you could avoid most scams.
I came up with three. So, if you follow these rules, you won’t need my help:
• Never buy a used car.
• Never answer the phone or an email.
• Never use your ATM card.
It’s just that simple.
What? How can you go without those things? Am I crazy?
Well, maybe. This job can drive you a little nuts.
They are top scam areas for a reason.
Scammers know how they are so tied in to the way we live.
So, if you can’t avoid them, at least protect yourself.
Let’s take used cars: Dealer or no dealer, you must:
• Get the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)
• Check it with Carfax for accidents and odometer issues
• Check it with the state for liens (money you’d have to pay before getting the title)
• Take the car to a trusted mechanic before you buy (it might cost, but it’s crucial)
If a dealer demands a deposit, make sure its refundable. Get that, and everything included in the contract, in writing.
Scams by phone are also common:
• If it’s an unfamiliar number, let it go to voice mail
• Contact your service provider for blocking options
• If a telemarketer does get through, say no thanks, and hang up. You’re not being rude. You’re saving money.
The longer you’re on the phone, the more likely you’ll be talked out of some big bucks.
With e-mails, do the same thing:
• If you don’t know the address, don’t respond to it
• Don’t click on unfamiliar links
• For all money-making, unsolicited job opportunities or contest winnings, delete, delete, delete
As for ATM cards, they’re fine to take money out of your bank. But, like credit cards, never use your account number on unfamiliar sites.
Unlike credit cards, ATM money comes right out of your bank account and you’ll have less of a chance getting it back.
While I’m at it, if anyone suggests you wire money or sends a check and wants you to send them one, it’s a big time scam!
Joe Ducey is now helping people like you everyday on ABC15 News at 6 pm. If you’ve got a consumer issue you can’t solve, “Let Joe Know.” Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or (855) 323-1515.