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Tips on How Not to Get Scammed

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

We’re getting technical this week with tips on how not to get scammed! 

One of the most common scams out there right now is getting a text and/or an email claiming that a package from one of the mail carriers has been held up. You then click on the link, and it takes you to a place where you can put in your credit card information to pay a small fee. The thing is, the card information is taken and that small fee turns into a big fee. So, how can you not get scammed when these messages come in? Obviously the main one is to not fall for it, but maybe you had a package being shipped over from another country. If that’s the case, go to the carrier directly. It’s not that hard to drive to your local carrier, walk in, and ask the clerk at the desk about the message you received. I guarantee you that they will not know anything about that message. 

These days, scammers are getting good, and are making their scams seem so real that even people like me have trouble knowing what’s real/fake. Scammers these days are creating scams that are spoofs of actual things. So, what can you do to not get scammed with real-like scams?

First, do your research. This is the main step in knowing whether or not the scam is actually a real thing or not. If it is, you then need to analyze the documents. Most of these scam companies will send physical documents to you that look pretty official. The thing is, there are holes in the papers. The logos they use won’t be the actual logos the company uses, or the wording of the paper will not sound correct. The document will also not be officially and may not have all contact options listed. These are clear signs that it’s a scam. 

Another thing scammers are doing these days, is using phone numbers with your local area code so that you’re more likely to answer it. When you answer it, they either say a bogus message, or say nothing and then put your number on a call registry list that is full of scammers. So, how can you avoid not getting put on a list and/or wasting time by picking up the phone? Easy: don’t pick up the phone for any number that is not in your contacts. If there is just a number that pops up, and not a name (ex: Dad, Mom) don’t answer it.

If the message the caller wants to get to you is that important, they will leave a voicemail. If you don’t have a voicemail set up, you really should, but we’ll get into that later. Anyway, the caller will most likely not leave a voicemail and you would have saved some precious time and/or saved your number from being called 12 times a day by the same number (true story). 

 Lastly, scammers today are scamming people out of money by claiming they’re selling things when they’re really not. They’ll post something on Facebook Marketplace for sale, and when you contact them to buy it, they’ll demand a down payment for “security purposes.” Then, the scammer will delete their Facebook account after they get the down payment, and hence you won’t get the item and you can’t even contact the person again to complain. So, how can you make sure you don’t get scammed for wanting to buy a Starbucks cup (I haven’t, but I’ve seen others do it)?

Simple: don’t do a down payment. When you go to a store, you don’t pay money before you buy stuff to buy the store’s products. Why would you do that for a sale taking place online? The other tip I have for you is do the transaction in person. When you buy something from someone in person, there’s no question at all about whether or not the item is legit, and if you’ll even get the product. Plus, you can pay with cash and not have to pay a fee for using a card. 

Brooke Johnpier is a contributor to the SBU chapter of Her Campus. She writes about the more "manly" topics of the site, including automotive, motorsports, mechanical, technical, DIY, and anything hands-on. Brooke is also using this platform as her personal blog, of which she will talk about more personal things that she feels the world should hear about. Besides Her Campus, Brooke is a part-time motorsports journalist for Speedway Illustrated, a columnist for Race Pro Weekly, and a staff writer, social media promoter, and graphic designer for The Podium Finish, where she is interning. Brooke is also a writer for The Bona Venture (News, Features, and Sports), TAPinto Greater Olean, and WSBU The Buzz (Music, and Sports). Brooke is also involved with St. Bonaventure's literary magazine, The Laurel. Brooke is currently a freshman at St. Bonaventure University where she is majoring in Sports Media with minors in Native American and Indigenous Studies & English. In her free time, Brooke loves reading, going to the local racetrack, riding four-wheelers, working on cars, and riding in tractor trailers. Brooke is a music lover, and will talk about most any genre, especially her favorites which are rock and rap. Brooke is also a percussionist, a published author, and a women's rights activist. Brooke is also a member of several lineage organizations, and currently holds a national position in one of them. As well as writing for campus media, Brooke is involved with Faith in Fiction, Jandoli Women in Communication, the History Club, College Democrats, and the Indigenous Student Confederacy. A fun fact about Brooke is that she was the only female to ever be in the top 5% of the Automotive Technology class at the trade school she attended in her junior and senior years of high school.