How Not to Get Scammed On-Line: Protect your Money

How Not to Get Scammed On-Line: Protect your Money

With our economy sputtering, people struggling and companies trying to survive, the pressure is on for making money.  Have you noticed that you are getting bombarded with more e-mails from solicitors lately trying to sell you something?  Some are highly promotional; others hide their message by offering free networking, information or honoring you for your accomplishments.

Everyone seems to want to take money out of your pocket!  These are tough times and you need to protect whatever money you have from predators that are after your money, database and personal information.  It’s rough out there now and you need to protect yourself.

I just broke down and joined a national professional group that had e-mailed me last week to invite me into their organization.  This woman’s group didn’t say anything about the money I would have to pay to join, rather they made it appear as if it was free.  After a call with the organization this morning with a very convincing representative, I was out $189, of which, I knew very little about!  You need to know there is no “free lunch” in today’s economic environment, just better sales people!

There’s also an automatic renewal fee of $99/year that I will have to deal with if I decide to opt out.  After getting sold by this organization, I wanted to share with you some tips to protect yourself from placing your hard earned money on something that you aren’t sure you want or need.

Here are a few tips:

  1. Be wary of any correspondence sent to you via e-mail that was not a direct referral from a friend or business associate.  Look at any unsolicited e-mail as SPAM even if it doesn’t make it to your SPAM folder.
  2. If you do respond to the e-mail from the unknown source that you may be interested in, make sure to research this company or indivual before you respond to them.  Use Google to find out what they are and if they are legitimate.
  3. When you respond to the e-mail, make sure to ask what the cost of joining the organization or product is.  Tell them not to contact you unless they can outline the cost to opt in.
  4. If you decide to get involved with the unsolicited organization and they ask for your credit card, make sure you use a credit card that you can easily track the expenditure, with lower credit limits.
  5. If the company automatically renews your membership every year, don’t depend on them alerting you when you are being renewed.  Mark your calendar for 30-days ahead of time, so you can cancel your membership if you no longer want to be part of the organization.

With so many companies’ struggling and the ease of using technology and social media to find us, you need to protect yourself.  We all have too much information out there that can be used for solicitation and/or fraud, so be careful who you give your information to and limit your exposure to these groups.

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