Being used or scammed is a terrible experience. It makes us question our decisions and shakes our self esteem. Whether you were too trusting and used by a friend, or bilked out of money by an acquaintance, the way to prevent it from happening again is to learn from it. Avoid being used or scammed by remembering these steps.
Things You Will Need
The ability to weigh options.
Take an analytical look at new relationships. Is the person overly enthusiastic, becoming too close to you too fast? Maybe they shower you with small gifts. Users and scammers often use this technique to build your trust. They know if they ask you for money or favors, it will be harder for you to say "no" if you have built a close friendship.
Be leery of a person who never seemed interested in you, then suddenly changes their attitude for no apparent reason. This is suspicious behavior, so tread cautiously.
Weigh the facts when you hear a hard luck story. Don't believe everything you're told even if the story sounds sincere. Your immediate instinct may be to help, but before you decide to lend a hand or loan money, try to corroborate what they've shared with you. If you know someone else who knows this person, they may be able to provide you with information.
Look deeper than the surface. People
who are persuasive and manipulating, are often good looking and charming.
Listen for a ticking clock. A convincing hard luck story will sometimes be accompanied by a quick deadline. "If I don't get the money by tomorrow, I'll lose my car." Scammers use a deadline because they want you to make a decision before you have time to think about what you're doing. If you have any doubts, always wait and talk to someone you trust about this situation. It will help you to see the pros and cons more clearly.
Protect your financial security. Don't invest money in opportunities that promise unrealistic gains. Don't donate money to causes you are unfamiliar with, or ones that cannot be verified. You work hard for your money. Do your homework before you invest, donate, or loan it.
Look for red flags. Don't cave in to pressure. If someone is trying too hard to talk you into something you aren't comfortable with, resist without apology.
Avoid probing, uncomfortable questions with responses like, "I'm not sure", "I don't share that kind of information", or "why do you need this information"?
Practice saying "no". Devote a moment to some inner dialogue when faced with a decision. Ask yourself what your true feelings are. Refuse a request for money or favors if your instinct tells you to. It's possible you will lose that person's friendship as a result, or upset them, but so what? You don't have to please everyone. Why would you care to continue a relationship with this kind of person anyway? People who worry too much about what others think, often are the perfect target for users and scammers.
Tips & Warnings