|There are scam artists born every day, but only a select few have made it to the top of their trade. You’ll become more familiar with the types of scams and the masterminds behind them, to avoid getting scammed in the future. These 4 valuable tips will help you spot a scam from a mile away:
1) The Ponzi Scheme – The man infamous for having a scheme named after him. Althogh most people associate the Ponzi scheme with Bernie Madoff, it was Charles Ponzi who coined the term first. Charles Ponzi gained notoriety in the early 1920’s by promising investors tremendous returns with very low risk involved. He would set up a legit business company and slowly defraud it over a short period of time. Ponzi had ammassed a fortune of over $20 million before his capture and arrest.
Tip: Beware of any "get rich quick" investment opportunities that sound "too good to be true". The odds are that it’s most likely a scam.
2) The Madoff Scam – When it comes to fraud, there is one name that stands above the rest, and that name is Bernie Madoff. Bernie Madoff was responsible for bilking many investors out of billions of dollars. It is estimated that he stole over $65 billion in total throughout the course of his criminal career. He created the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history. It is speculated that he began his Ponzi scheme as far back as the 1980’s until his arrest in 2009.
Tip: Make sure you have a trusted and reputable broker before you make any financial investments in the stock market. Take the time to do your research, it’s well worth it.
3) The Abagnale Scam – Abagnale is best known for his incredible and cunning impersonation tactics. He would go as far as to impersonate an airline pilot, a physician and an attorney. Abagnale was also noted for many daring escapes, including one escape from a moving airplane at JFK Airport. Catch Me If You Can was a movie based on his autobiography, with Leonardo Dicaprio portraying him in the lead role. He currently works as the most saught after authority on forgery and embezzlement, even working with the FBI in a twisted bit of ironic fate.
Tip: Do not accept personal checks from people you don’t know or trust without proper verification.
4) The Internet Scam – Scam artists are abundant on the Internet. The Internet makes it even easier due to anonymity. Email scams, such as the Nigerian 419 scam, are the most popular ones used. The email tells you that you were carefully selected by the Nigerian government to transfer funds. It goes further to say that you will be well-reincompinsated for your troubles. Do not open any emails unless you recognize the sender.
Tip: Don’t hand out your credit card information to anyone over the Internet unless you know them or trust the sender. Likewise, do not give personal information, such as social security, to anyone either. For all the online shoppers out there, make sure you only use reputable and secured websites before making any payment transactions online.