It's not always easy to spot con artists. They're smart, extremely persuasive, and aggressive. They invade your home by telephone and mail, advertise in well-known newspapers and magazines, and come to your door. .
Most people think they're too smart to fall for a scam. But con artists rob all kinds of people - from investment counselors and doctors to teenagers and elderly widows - of crores of rupees every year.
Just remember... if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If Someone Rips You Off
Tips to stop credit card fraud when buying online:
- Make sure your web-browser is set to the highest level of security notification and monitoring. These options are not always automatically activated when your computer is set-up, so check your manual or the "Help" option.
- Check whether you are using a recent version of your web-browser as they often include better security features - up-to-date versions can be downloaded free from the Microsoft or Netscape websites.
- Before purchasing from a website, make a record of the retailer's contact details, including the street address and landline phone number. If these details are not available on the website, consider going elsewhere to buy, do not rely on the e-mail address alone.
- Do not enter personal details unless the security icon is displayed (this is a small padlock that normally appears at the bottom of your browser when you begin your transaction over the Internet). You can click on the padlock to see if the retailer has an encryption certificate. This should explain the type and extent of security and encryption it uses. Only use companies that have an encryption certificate and use secure transaction technology. The address of the page where you enter personal details should also start with https://.
- If you have any queries or concerns, telephone the company before giving them your card details to reassure yourself that it is legitimate.
- Print out your order and consider keeping copies of the retailer's terms and conditions and returns policy. Be aware that there may well be additional charges such as postage and taxes. When buying from overseas always err on the side of caution and remember that it may be difficult to seek redress if problems arise.
- Check statements from your bank or card issuer carefully as soon as you receive them. Raise any discrepancies with the retailer concerned in the first instance. If you find any transaction on your statement that you are certain you did not make, contact your card issuer immediately.
- Ensure that you are fully aware of any payment commitments you are entering into, including whether you are instructing a single payment or a series of payments.
- Never disclose your card's PIN number to anyone, including people claiming to be from your bank or the police, and never write it down or send it over the Internet.
- If you have any doubts about using your card, find another method of payment.
Be a Wise Consumer
- Don't buy health products or treatments that include: a promise for a quick and dramatic cure. Quackery can delay an ill person from getting timely treatment.
- Never give a caller your credit card, phone card, or bank account number over the phone.
- Investigate before you invest. Never make an investment with a stranger over the phone. Beware of promises that include the terms "get rich quick," or "a once in a lifetime opportunity."
- Look closely at offers that come in the mail. Con artists often use official-looking forms and bold graphics to lure victims. If you receive items in the mail that you did not order, you are under no obligation to pay for them - throw them out, or return them.
- Be suspicious of ads that promise quick cash working from your home. After you have paid for the supplies or a how-to book to get started, you often find there's no market for the product and there's no way to get your money back.
- Beware of cheap home repair work that would otherwise be expensive, regardless of the reason given. The con artist may just do part of the work, use shoddy materials and untrained workers, or simply take your deposit and never return.