Often people who are honest become the target of scams because they assume that everyone else is honest and trustworthy. Unfortunately, there are people who get their needs met by taking advantage of others.
Do not be naïve. Look for warning signs that will save you time, money and grief:
1. When you don't know the person - Scammers are bold and usually have practiced the way that they will talk to you so that you will agree to their terms. Anything you want or need in life, however, can be obtained from companies or individuals who have reputable methods, good references, and guarantees. Be particularly careful about friendly people who phone you with offers that might seem irresistible. Just because they contacted you doesn't mean you need or want what they are proposing.
2. When a deadline is in place - You might be tempted to say "yes" when you know that your decision has to be made by a specific time. Never agree to something until you have had opportunity to do some research, talk with others and come to a decision that you can live with.
3. When you are aware of a pattern of negative behaviours - Unfortunately, we are sometimes taken advantage of by people we know. When someone repeatedly asks you to do things but never fulfills their part of the bargain, you need to say "no". Even when you receive what appears to be sincere apologies for failing you in the past, do not believe that things will be different this time. Past behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour.
4. When you keep making the same mistakes over and over - It would be wonderful if we could trust ourselves but that isn't always the case. Perhaps you find yourself spending too much, feeding an addiction, or making poor decisions. You want to trust yourself but know that you just keep getting into trouble.
Before you trust anyone or anything, ask yourself some simple questions:
1. If this person hadn't asked me to participate in this plan, would I have gone looking for something like it?
2. Are there warning signs that I am not seeing or that I am ignoring?
3. What is the reputation of the person who has approached me?
4. Who can I talk with to get good information and wise advice before I make a decision?
The good news is that there are professionals who can work with you. Psychologists are trained problem-solvers. They will help you to identify weaknesses and learn strategies to deal with them in a healthy manner. They are not your family members or friends so you know that you will be able to talk confidentially in an environment that is unbiased.
You don't have to figure this out by yourself! Help is only a phone call away.