7 ways to spot a fraudster
How to spot a scam!
I’m going to be pretty sure that this page is probably going be the one that people will pay most attention to, not to be a spoil sport though I can’t straight forwardly give you an outright list or definitive answer as to what is a scam and what isn’t.
The reason behind this is quite simple and straight forward, scammers are probably in the top 10% of the smartest people in the world. they are constantly evolving, hiding and changing adapting to all new systems and technology in order to commit their deeds.
However if you read the ‘What is investing page’ you would be able to understand and learn at this point how in control you have to be, in your decision making and weighing up your pros and cons. if you utilise the information found in this website, naturally you will be able to spot a scam quite simply. however there is a number of things I can state which every single scam company has done not only with me but also the individuals I have helped in the past.
Remember our losses are your gains so pay very close attention to the rest of this page. I will also like to make perfectly clear one major thing that you must take into consideration, scams and people who commit scams have a foundation underneath their scam, what makes it so difficult to spot one in the making is that they use legitimate procedures and a legitimate foundation that honest companies utilise so that you don’t think any different however there are the tell tell signs that should ring alarm bells for you. Certain checks that can be done in order to figure out whether the person you are speaking to is genuine. You will read on how very basic simple checks can make all the difference.
Each section I will split into categories of the procedures scam companies have used and ill identify how the alarm bells should ring.
NUMBER 1 – COMMUNICATION – THE TELEPHONE CALLS
Picture this, all of a sudden you get a telephone call from a sales company beginning with 0161. It’s your God given right to ask where the person is calling from. In many cases I have had telephone calls from say an 0161 number for example, I have asked where they are calling from and they have told me that they are based in Central London. Hmmmmmmmmmm I wonder, because if you Google the 0161 area code, that number belongs to Manchester. Ding Ding Ding!
I have had calls from an 0207 number which again is a genuine London number, however another quick Google check of this number doesn’t appear in any telephone directory like yellow pages etc constituting to a London location. What this means is that a VOIP (voice over ip) phone is being used, a telephone number that runs off an internet connection and not a telephone line. So for all your know they could be somewhere half way across the world, because all a VoIP phone needs is an internet connection. However I cannot ring the bell on this one folks, the reason why is because many legitimate companies all over the UK are starting to use VoIP phones because they are ridiculously more cheaper than conventional phone lines also they are a lot more reliable and clearer. However when cross checking many legitimate companies, I did find that their telephone numbers were coming up into directories even though they were using VoIP phones.
Simple test you can do, will cost you about 65p to about £1.50, call 118 118 and give them the telephone number and ask if a name and address is attached to the number in a directory and it’s a simple as that. Now maybe all could still be well, but if you can’t verify a telephone number, let’s call that strike 1, if you reach 3 strikes, best to walk away no? That ultimately is your decision remember.
I have also been a victim of scammers posing as legitimate companies only when I was scammed did I find out that the company I was dealing with was reported online as a clone of a legitimate company. Again, Google to rescue, don’t be afraid of googling company names and getting telephone numbers, ringing them back and simply asking whether the person that rang you legitimately is part of that company. Dig a little and all answers will prevail.
NUMBER 2 – A MEETING AND VERIFICATION – THE MOST POWERFUL
This is easily the best way to catch out a scammer. Understand this Scammers will go to great lengths to hide their identities, fake names etc is the norm I guess but in my experience a scammer will 99.999% of the time refuse to meet you, why because they have something to hide. It’s the number 1 test to separate a legitimate business with a scam one! Legitimate individuals will promote the idea of inviting you to their offices to meet your designated individual in person to develop long standing business relationships. Scammers want to rob you in dark or night and run!
I will give you an example of what I mean. I was contacted about 6 months ago from a very nice young (very young chap) who was asking me to invest in a certain product. Genuinely he could talk the talk, every question I asked the answers were prompt and ready. By the way this is also a tell tell sign, if somebody is trying to sell you a service and when you ask questions they don’t know the answer, they keep stuttering or keep saying let me ask a manager, they obviously haven’t been there long are inexperienced and haven’t a clue what there on about, do you really want to do business with someone like that?
Nevertheless this young man was firing all the answers back to me as I asked the questions, I actually was very interested in the offers he had given me BUT the bombshell then dropped, I stated very politely that I am interested in what he has to offer and that I would like to arrange a meeting directly with him as the company representative to discuss the matter in further detail. Outcome the excuses and deviations from my request, as hard as he tried to stall away from my request I kept bringing him back to that mark, he persistently tried to change the subject back to the financial service he wanted to give me, until I finally openly said ‘you are asking me to invest £20,000 in your product, yet I have asked to meet you so that I can sign on the dotted line and you are simply refusing to do this, what are you hiding? After much conversation he reluctantly stated he could meet me outside of the office, DING DING DING! Let’s get ready to rumble! So young man, you want me to come to London and sit with you in a coffee shop and sign a £20k contract, he stupidly replied ‘Yes, I don’t see a problem with that’. At this point I was 100% now convinced it was a scam, who would actually do this? What is the problem in meeting you inside your office so that I can see were my money is going?! Obviously an office doesn’t exist hence why I can’t go there. Finally just to put the final nail in the coffin for this young man, I stated forget a £20k deal I’ll do a £100k deal, if you could genuinely hear the excitement in this young man’s voice you would have laughed, it was like giving a young child a Nintendo for Christmas BUT and this was a big but, I said ‘I really like you, and I want you to exclusively manage my investment, please bring with you to the meeting your passport and driving licence as I will want to take a picture of the originals for my satisfaction’………………..what happened next……………’Click’ is what happened, the click of him putting his phone down.
Now from this example take away two very major things that you can use in your arsenal of making sure you’re not being scammed.
ASK TO MEET AND ASK FOR IDENTIFICATION! This technique usually ends up with the scammer calling you up and hanging up themselves. Anyone who is willing to meet you, honours every single one of your requests, has absolutely nothing to hide, in my opinion is honest and trustworthy and worth doing business with. The 9 or 10 investments that I have done with companies, were done in exactly this way, my investment was safe and the business I did was a positive experience.
NUMBER 3 – RESEARCH PROSPECTIVE CLIENTS OF THE BUSINESS
This is but an easy one, Google peoples experience with certain companies, all you need to do is type in the company name and type ‘reviews’ next to it. This is a very easy way to catch out scam companies. Again I was contacted by a company that supposedly was established for the past 14 years, when I looked for reviews for them, it seemed the reviews had only been put up about 1-2 months prior to them ringing me, Ding Ding Ding.
Also from this you can see with legitimate reviews from legitimate companies find how some customers were dealt with, maybe a number of customers have not had such a fab experience, this should also be taken under consideration at your discretion.
NUMBER 4 – GIVE YOURSELF TIME!
Do you meet a girl or boy at a bar and then propose the next day? NO. It takes time to build a relationship, from my experience and some other client experiences scammers have a shelf life of about 3-4 months. Also one of the biggest signs of a scammer is that the service they are offering is expiring within 2-3 days. Well you should have contacted me ages in advance then, not lastminute.com. Never get sucked into the Awesome Deal concept that I mention in the ‘How can I be safe’ page. This issue most definitely cost me the most in the past. The fear of missing out an awesome deal. It stems quite closely to the greed concept. If a deal must be completed in a short period of time, which I have done in the past ensure the criteria of Number 2 (above) has been met, I did this and it worked out fine!
NUMBER 5 – DEAL WITHIN THE UK – EASE OF INVESTMENT!
This is a hard one to write about, I won’t ever say that dealing in investments overseas is a scam, however it is very difficult to keep a lid on it if you don’t have prior experience or contacts abroad. Many people have been pushed to invest in things like land abroad, all was well until the point of liquidation of the investment came to play. A client explained to me once how she invested in some land abroad, the company she used to purchase the land had legitimately closed down, everything was done in the correct way as she had the deeds of the land etc. She needed her money and simply couldn’t find the help and assistance she needed in order to sell the land. In the end she had to travel half way around the world, to a country she has never been to, sell her land to people there etc. It was one of the most difficult things she ever had to do. What made me point to this and use this as a scam example is this, an investment doesn’t need to be complicated, the more complicated it is the more traps you will need to go through to achieve what you require, as I stated earlier, scammers use the foundations of legitimate companies, and then insert their own twists and turns to corner and trap investors.
NUMBER 6 – DO THE ACCOUNTS MATCH UP
This is how stupid I was, honestly I wasn’t alone. Imagine speaking to Company X, all is well they have asked me to transfer the funds to them? The account name etc should at least be something to do with Company X? I was convinced to put money into company Y’s account. It doesn’t matter what the reason is, there’s no mother or daughter or parent company nonsense here! If you’re dealing with a company, the payment should go to that company name account, right?! Another sign folks, it’s very easy to overlook these stupid things! The more I write this website the more frustrated I get with myself as to how stupid I could have been in the past to do these type of things but as I said I’m not alone, many others have done exactly the same!
NUMBER 7 – CHECK THE PAPER WORK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Finally for the time being, one of the greatest mistakes I made. One of my first investments that I did, the account manager stated many times that the contract term of my investment was 12 months, I invested and signed and sent the paper work back via email. Maybe I should I have requested for an address to post the document? Another tell tell sign, if they insist on a document coming back via email and not secure post…………I guess you’re starting to get the picture. Also a PO BOX address is not the same as a straight forward building address! Stay vigilante. Back to the topic in hand, checking the paper work, I was sent with the contract a thick pad like collection of terms and conditions, after being scammed by one of the companies they stated to check a certain page of the terms and conditions, were by the investment wasn’t for 12 months, it was actually for 5 years! What could I do, how do I prove the misrepresentation of the individual I spoke to? I had signed this agreement and was stuck with it! The company folded and disappeared within 5 months anyways so regardless I was always going to lose but sometimes, Terms and Conditions can get you very very stuck! The more the terms and conditions the more you need to read them because once you have signed, your contractually bound by the agreement. Scammers love this, they love trapping people!
For now you have enough to watch out for, I have given you just a few examples of how sneaky scammers can be and how easily by just a few clicks you can find relevant information to make a sensible decision. If you invest in a lazy way and trust blindly you will lose your funds, you can’t blame anyone but yourself for this, take your time, do your research, Investing again is brilliant but only when you’re doing it with the right people! I will add more hints and tips as they come along.
“I knew there was just something about me that couldn’t settle for just a 9-5 job”
Safety Invest client