29 April 2022

Swindled: finance scam horror stories and how to protect yourself

Horror stories of misplaced trust and lost money. Plus, how to keep your money safe.

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Wendy S.
04 May 2022
I got scammed once and I am glad I did.

I pride myself for being very cautious almost always, and know about most scams. I even ignore the ones that could "ruin my life" if I don't pay.
Years ago I got an email from "Paypal" whom I used at the time. They claimed they were testing something to do with Credit Cards or something like that. I had just got home from work and very tired and they asked me to deposit $2 into "their account" and then when I make my next purchase that amount of $2 will be deducted from my next purchase. I forgot about the whole thing even after I made a purchase. But I remembered at some point and wouldn't you know it $2 was not taken off my purchase total. That was a very cheap lesson especially when It could have been worse. The main looser in this is PayPal, as I have never used them since.

Hugh P.
30 Apr 2022
The correct answer is "no".

My personal solution is that the answer to any question at all, from anyone, via any media, is “No”. And it stays at a mistrusting “no” until I have stopped and thought about things more. A couple of days if necessary, e.g. if I haven’t been able to get evidence or confirmation from another avenue. I’ve NEVER had a situation that needed to be dealt with as fast as a scammer wants, or as surreptitiously as a scammer wants. And I’ve never missed out on any genuine tax refunds or windfalls. It means that I’ve said “no” a couple of times to the legitimate business that I was using. And once I sent an abusive reply to someone at work who (as part of some IT changes) was saying that we should leave our passwords written beside our computer so that they could update them after-hours. They’d acted like a scammer, so I treated them like a scammer. I was protecting myself, and I had nothing to apologise for regarding the strong language that I used.
Remember, the answer is “No”. No apologies or justifications or placation needed.
I have rejected the dysfunctional standards of behaviour that I was brought up with. Yes, DO judge a book by its cover, do NOT give the benefit of the doubt, DO be so judgmental, DON’T turn the other cheek. Altruism does NOT mean self-sacrificial and gullibility. My cynical pessimistic intuition has served me well.

Beate L.
01 May 2022
Hear hear

Thank you for your eloquent contribution - well put and to the point. It highlights how our behavioural conditioning grooms us for victimisation.
Personally, I have moved from the socially acceptable obliging "yes" to "no" as my default position (within reason).

Robyn B.
30 Apr 2022
The scam may appear to come from someone you trust

On Thursday I got an email at work from the Chair of the Trust I work for. It wasn't his normal email address but due to pride (I was picked as I could be discreet) and bad luck that we were having a farewell lunch for our Director that day and I knew the Chair was isolating to protect a family member so wouldn't be keen to go shopping.

The "Chair was in a meeting and couldn't be contacted except by this email. I was asked to buy 5 $100 iTunes cards. The next email asked me to expose the codes on the back and send a photo of the cards.

I did this then confirmed I had been scammed when I saw the Chair at lunch. I returned to work to find another email asking for another $500 worth.

Several workmates received the same initial email but didn't fall for it either because they didn't know the Chair personally or didn't react as quickly.

So I agree with the article that I should have been more alerted by the implied secrecy, the unusual email address and the urgency to do this ASAP. Please learn from my mistake.

Robin K.
30 Apr 2022

Real question: How the hell does one set about "understanding" blockchain and cryptocurrencies anyway? It defeats me .....

Jenny W.
30 Apr 2022
If it seems too good to be true……

After many years of warnings from banks, police, other victims etc some people still get sucked in. Why wld a total stranger pick you to be the lucky one, your bank, telco etc., etc. will not ring & ask for your PIN number, the gorgeous man on the other side of the world does not want to marry you….. just be aware that when it seems too good to be true - IT IS!!