So I have been in the U.S. for about two months now, give or take, and I have been exposed to the most frustrating phenomenon: SCAMS! Don’t get me wrong, I have seen plenty of scams back in the Middle East, but I’ve just been getting so many elaborate schemes one after the other, its absolutely ridiculous!
If it weren’t for my beloved parents and brother knocking some sense into me every time, I’d be robbed clean by now!
It’s not that they are trying to rob people that bothers me, the minute they ask for information I know it’s a scam. But what really gets to me is that they dangle that string of hope in your face, wait for you to latch onto it and then YANK IT AWAY, along with all your savings!
If you are like me, kindhearted and trusting, more importantly, if you are miserable enough to believe that someone wants to give you free money, take a look at the following scams I’ve experienced and just watch out for them.
– I got a call from an Unknown Number. When I answered the person said “what are you doing?”. I said “Who is this” and he said “I’m your cousin from your mother’s side, guess!” I said “Just tell me who you are” and he said “guess”. When I wouldn’t guess, lo and behold, he hung up. Sometimes the only information they need is your birthday and mother’s maiden name and they can get into some of your accounts.
– I received an envelope in the mail from Cruise Line Atlantic. Inside it was a very legitimate looking free cruise, complete with sponsors, logos, and a check! All they want me to do is call a number to claim it ‘no strings attached’. I did some research online and found that if I were to call, they would have asked for my credit card number.
– My Mother received an e-mail. The name appeared to be mine “Eleena Korban’ when she opened the e-mail it was about a way for her to make money. When she told me that the e-mail I sent her looks like a scam, and I had no idea what she was talking about, we discovered that while it displayed my name, and the subject said “For (Her name)” the e-mail address it was sent from, was not mine. Watch out for that.
– I got many calls from known numbers and unknown numbers claiming that I was selected by the government to receive $8,000 because of my good standing record. The only catch was that I not spend it on drugs or alcohol. They said they could even transfer the money to a gift card, Walmart card, credit card.. whatever I wanted. Yes, like the U.S. government just has so much money it is randomly picking good samaritans to hand it to. Don’t fall for it.
Naturally, I was let down, not so gently by my family because I almost fell for each one of those.
It’s okay to explore, and to give and take with the scammer if, like me, you are mortified that it might be a real opportunity that you might miss. In fact, you might accomplish wasting their time and that would piss them off! BUT whatever you do DO NOT divulge personal information, bank accounts, credit card numbers, family names, especially your mother’s maiden name, important dates, etc…
You might also want to come to terms with the following:
1- If you did not enter a sweepstakes or the lottery, you did not win anything!
2- The government will not want to give you money for no reason
3- Even if you are waiting for an e-mail from Paypal or whatever, NEVER sign in from a link in an e-mail, always type in the address yourself and sign in from the official website. Official websites will never ask for your details in an e-mail!
4- Trust NO ONE! Ask your friends and family not to make you guess who they are if and when they call, or at least agree on a safe-word that only you could identify.
5- Doubt EVERYTHING! If it sounds/looks too good to be true… IT MOST DEFINITELY IS!
I leave you with some of my daddy’s wise words: THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FREE RIDE IN LIFE. (Don’t you hate it when they are right?)
Good luck, you’ll need it my dear friends.