Have you Been Scammed?

No one wants to be scammed, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to recognize these tricky sales scams in this digital era. To keep our customers informed and out of the grasps of scam artists, we are sharing the top five sales scams to look out for. You can also use Alberta’s Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker to protect yourself.

1. Phantom Riches

“You will start making thousands of dollars in just weeks!”

“These gas wells are guaranteed to produce $6,800 a month in income.”

This tricky investment scam is hard to miss. By promising wealth with ease and little work, it is the ultimate pull. The temptation and promise of wealth tend to be the thing that gets your attention and draws you into a scam.

2. Source Credibility

“Believe me, as a doctor for 25 years, I would never endorse a weight loss supplement if it did not work!”

“As the president of multiple multinational software companies and successful business owner, I would not be telling you about this opportunity if it did not double my business in one month.”

Credibility is a big selling point for all merchandise – and scammers know this. The credibility of a brand or business is one way that consumers decide where to spend their money. Scammers use this to bring credibility to themselves because chances are, you have never heard of their product. Remember that if you’ve never heard of this product or company before and they’re making grand promises, it might be for a good reason.

3. Social Consensus

“My mother introduced me to this amazing product and after trying it, I have shared it with all of my friends.”

“This is how _____ got his start. I know it’s a lot of money, but I’m in and so is my mom and half her church – and it’s worth every dime.”

We all take what others are doing into consideration when purchasing a product. If everyone you know likes their iPod then you have a good idea that you too would like to own an iPod. Showing that not only do one or two people like the product but that anyone can use it, is one method scammer’s use. As a society, we have a natural inclination to follow what others are doing in the hopes it will bring us success and joy too, and scammers use this tactic as part of their strategy. The idea that everyone is doing it can be a red flag that it is too good to be true.

4. Reciprocity

“If you buy now, I will do something I normally would never do. I will give you this amazing product for half price!”

“If you buy within the next 20 minutes, I will give you an extra bonus video on how I invested in ______ and made thousands of dollars.”

This scamming tactic rushes the consumer to make an impulse buy. I think we have all bought something on impulse and maybe regretted it later. This tactic is making you feel like you are getting a deal from the provider by buying it now. Sometimes taking a step back and really thinking about a purchase can bring clarity to a situation. Before you hand over your credit card, really think about what you are purchasing and how it benefits you.

5. Scarcity

“Sign up for this life-changing conference before all the seats are taken. We only have 7 spots left!”

“We only sell 100 of these items once a year, so don’t wait. Once these items are gone, you will not see them again.”

This is again trying to get you to make a rushed purchase. You do not want to lose the opportunity to own or experience this product. So by creating a false sense of urgency or by claiming there is a limited supply, the scammer can push you to make a rushed decision.

To sum things up, if it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Also remember you can always say no and walk away.

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