Why You're Likely To Fall For A Scam

Why You're Likely To Fall For A Scam

And Ways To Prevent It

It’s hard being an adult in today’s world. Sometimes it feels like there’s another person waiting around every corner to pull the wool over your eyes.

All across America there are poor, naïve souls being bamboozled, taken for a fool and plain old tricked into giving away money. Scams are more common than you’d like to believe, and you can’t let your guard down, even if you haven’t experienced an attack from scammers.

Scams come in all shapes and sizes — phone calls, emails, pop-up ads and even physical mail. Scammers dream up countless methods to steal your money, each more sophisticated and harder to track. And unfortunately, you’re probably one of their prime targets.

Millennials Are Easy To Fool

This sounds harsh, but Millennials are far too easy to scam. So easy, in fact, that this age group has officially occupied the “helpless old lady” spot on scammers’ prospect lists. If you’re between the ages of 18 to 24, you’re probably caught in their crosshairs.

The Better Business Bureau reported from a recent study that out of 30,000 adults who registered the details of a scam they encountered, only 11% of seniors (age 65 and over) actually lost money. 89% of seniors caught onto the scam in time, and successfully avoided losing any savings.

Conversely, the same study found that 34% of Millennials reported losing money. Three times more adults ages 18 to 24 lost money to scams.

We can attribute this new phenomenon to an “invulnerability illusion,” also called an “optimism bias.” This is the idea that others are far more vulnerable and helpless than you are. The attitude is associated with taking unnecessary risks and failing to take precautions with life decisions in general.

The optimism bias makes Millennials much easier to scam, as it makes them more trusting, and creates a false sense of security in their ability to discern the truthfulness of a situation. In short, it makes them naïve and a bit lazy in protecting their finances and identity.

Ironically, seniors and Baby Boomers are incredibly careful with their finances and identity, because they suspect a threat is around every corner. Millennials are too quick to trust the credibility of a stranger claiming to have their best interests at heart.

Protect Yourself

As was mentioned above, scams come in all forms. Scammers’ techniques have become more sophisticated as technology itself has evolved, making their scams much harder to identify.

For example, you could receive an email from “PayPal” that tells you about “important account information you need to review immediately” and provides a link for you to follow.

However, if you examine the email closely, you’ll notice a couple of oddities — the email never mentions you by name, doesn’t provide even the smallest documentation of your account or personal information (last four digits of your social security number or account number, etc.), and provides a very vague reason for you to just “check up on your account.”

So obviously, don’t click the link. Ever. These and other red flags should make it clear that the message didn’t actually come from a credible source. You’ve received this email because a scammer knows you have a PayPal account. The link likely contains a worm, or some other way for the scammer to get into your account and take control of it.

If you’re not paying attention, you’ll give someone the easiest access possible to all of your money.

It’s time for you to protect yourself from these scammers — arm yourself with the knowledge and tools to combat their incessant attacks.

Remember that you too have the internet on your side. If you get a call or email from a business claiming to give a great deal, do some research on that business. You’ll most likely find forums or other search results from other people warning about this scam. You can even use this method to inspect specific phone numbers.

No matter what, don’t pay upfront for a promise. Even if you don’t do any research, never give anyone your credit card information or write them a check without verifying their credibility first.

Always ask questions. The deeper you dig, the easier it is to uncover a scam. Scammers always want to catch you off guard and pressure you into making a hasty decision.

If your questions aren’t answered, chances are you’re staring a scam right in the face. A legitimate opportunity should yield clear explanations, but if the person you’re talking to keeps sidestepping your questions, then it’s obviously not the opportunity to you think it.

As a general rule, always be skeptical of any contact that is made from people or businesses you don’t know. Ask pressing questions and don’t give up your personal information.

Following these simple rules will equip you for deflecting and avoiding potential scams in the future

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything

I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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To The High School Counselor I Wouldn't Have Made It To College Without

I couldn't have made it through high school without her and now even college.


Dear best counselor ever,

When I came into Blake High School I had no idea what to expect. I was a scared, confused, lost freshman. Coming into a school that my sister had just graduated from there were some familiar faces, yours being one of them. You were my sister's high school counselor for four years and then mine. But, you weren't just a counselor you were a friend.

Anytime I came into to your office you were there for me. You became more of a mother figure to me than a staff member. The endless times I came into your office with endless problems you were always there to help. When we lost two seniors my junior year your door was open for me and the rest of your students when we couldn't bear to go to class. When I couldn't handle my biology teacher anymore you were there for me to vent to. When I had testing anxiety you opened up a quiet space for me to take my tests. When I didn't know how to apply for colleges or what I even wanted in a college you were there for me. When they tried to switch my last name to a different counselor you kept me.

You were truly the role model, friend, mom, staff member I needed at Blake. I loved coming into your office and just talking to you about everything. I don't know how I would've survived four years without you and even survive college now. Every time I come home which isn't often your door is still open. I come home you ask how college is going and you're proud. You expect the best out of me and it makes me expect the best out of myself. I know how hard you work and I just want you to know that I couldn't have done it without you. When I was scared to go to a school fourteen hours away, away from my family and everyone I knew, you told me to follow my heart. My heart led me to Alabama and I couldn't be happier.

As you go back to school from winter break I want you to know how appreciated you are because I really don't know where I would be without a great friend like you. I walked across the stage at graduation looking at all the faces I would be leaving as I took the journey to Alabama. When you called my name I knew that was where my journey started. They handed me a red rose at the end of the stage. We were told to give it to someone who made a difference in our four years at Blake. I gave it to you not only because you made a difference in those four years, but because you made a difference in my whole life and taught me so many lessons that I couldn't have taught myself. I am stilling learning so much and I can't wait to tell you all about it the next time I come to your office.


Your favorite student (hopefully)

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