It might seem glaringly obvious when you’ve received an email with spam content or a link to a website that you absolutely know is a no-go but such scams are still very alive and well and are becoming more sophisticated by the day. 

There are still far too many individuals falling prey to the email that bequeaths them $10,000,000.00 because he’s the last surviving New Zealander with the same surname. These little attractive emails can be to our financial detriment, and most people who have indulged them have landed up in debt counselling and applying for credit just to save themselves from a complete debt trap.

With that said, can you believe that hackers and scam artists are still winning with this? Neither can we. The truth is that it doesn’t matter how educated you are these days, there are certain scams that are just catching us completely unawares, because they are so well orchestrated and eventually landing us in more debt than we could have ever thought possible.

Ponzi schemes & phishing

Two big-time favourites that have been doing their rounds for a good number of years now are ponzi schemes and phishing! You might think phishing sounds quite harmless, but that all depends on whether you’re throwing the fish back or getting swallowed by an enormous shark that crept up at the tail side of the boat!

Whatever it is, be careful because you might not have had a lot of money to start with and by the time they’re done with you, your entire bank account could be drained, leaving you penniless and in desperate need of a personal loan to cover your monthly expenses.

Don’t go phishing

What is Phishing exactly? It a direct attempt to hack into your personal account and steal all of your personal information. It usually comes in the form of an email and the action is to click on a link or open an attachment and once you do this, all your sensitive information is leaked through to them, or they gain access to your computer records and can uncover your passwords to everything. How does this affect you financially? Well, for those who have been caught, they resorted to payday loans simply to cover monthly expenses until the financial strain began to ease up.  

Protect yourself online

So, when that odd-looking-name person emails you offering you a large reward for assisting him with moving his funds abroad, the only thing you don’t do is give up your banking details. What you can do, is hit the delete button. Ever wondered how you managed to win millions in a lotto that you never entered? Guess what? You didn’t!

You never entered and you definitely did not win. The unfortunate thing is that so many people have very little going on in their daily lives, they have very little money to match the scenario and so when presented with bells, whistles, and a string of zero’s, the hope and excitement depletes all reason and rationality.

Modern mobile phone scams 

For those of you who tend to have a bit more street cred and know how when it comes to spam, scams and other unsolicited junk, you still need to be wary. For instance, we all make Apple purchases through our iPhone apps, so receiving an email saying “Thank you for your Apple App order” doesn’t seem as though it would be fake.

At this stage we know that we haven’t purchased anything for $20 on the app store and the disclaimer clearly states, if this order is not yours, please click on the link to report. The obvious truth is that you didn’t purchase an app, in fact, no one did. But someone would really like you to click on that link and has become smart enough to decipher what people are willing to click on. It’s generally to stop money form going off their account, for example an App order that you never made. Clever huh? Yip, and that is how they get you, hook, line and sinker!

Don't take a gamble with your money

When it comes to debt, none of us can afford it. It puts unnecessary pressure on our livelihoods and ultimately causes us to make desperate decisions such as believing the spam, gambling for that hopeful chance we might win and yet, every single time, it’s a poor choice when we’re trying to get out of debt.

It’s not safe to gamble with the only money you have if it’s purely to make more money. If you are ever in doubt of whether you’re about to be scammed, google it! Generally, by the time that you are googling a potential phishing email, dozens have preceded you and can affirm that your gut was right the entire time and you didn’t win $10,000,000.00.

Facebook quiz scams

Lastly, when it comes to some quick scamming tricks, a popular one is the one on Facebook where a pop quiz will ask you for the name of your first school, your mother’s maiden name or your favourite colour. It’s safe to say that these questions are for nothing other than to potentially work through the password safety question when they are trying to log into your account. Steer clear. There’s no reason that anyone cares about your favourite colour other than you. Believe me.

What is a Ponzi scheme & is this a way to invest?

Ponzi schemes and cold call scams have been around for ages. If you've ever heard of any of these methods of making money the quick and easy way, I hope you’re reading carefully before deciding it’s a wise idea to part with your hard-earned money.  The only way to make money apart from your income is to invest or save.

Ponzi schemes are essentially investment scams. There will be an individual (or team of people) that host talks, mini get-togethers and all kinds of rallying up to get desperate or gullible Kiwi’s to invest a portion of their money in order to earn it all back 10-fold! It’s one of those too-good-to-be-true scenarios when you go through the presentation, the slides and the well put together talks. Once you’re done with this, the only money you’re going to get, is the money from applying for a loan to repay all the funds you lost.

There’s one fundamental lesson and truth that you need to take away from the idea of Ponzi schemes and it’s that if money could honestly be made at those figures, that easily, then we’d all be doing it. There’s a very real reason why the wealthy are not walking around stating that they made it through a ponzi investment, because it was just a scam. Instead, research proper investments through a broker and get professional advice on where to invest your money for a positive return.

If anyone asks you to invest in order to get money back without any work and reason for how you make your money back, it’s not safe. Stick to the professionals when it comes to advice for investments, not someone with a shady look in a cheap suit with a clipboard and pen.