How they get to you

Scams succeed because they can look like the real thing.

Scams succeed because they look like the real thing, and they push your buttons.

They speak to a strong need or desire … and they push hard for a natural and automatic human response.

Scammers rely on common human vulnerabilities:

Believing that all companies and websites are legitimate.

No, they can be set up for the sole intent of scamming people, then quickly shut down with no trace of the scammers, or your money. Don't trust companies or websites you don't know .

Hoping that there are short cuts and secrets to wealth.

If there were, why would they need your money? They would already be wealthy. Get independent advice on any investment proposal.

Feeling obligated to return a favour.

Scammers will often offer a gift or service, knowing you'll feel like you owe them something in return. You don't.

Weakening in the face of lesser demands.

If you say "no" to $5000, scammers know you're more likely to say "yes" if they drop the demand to $2000. Say "no" to any financial decision until you check it thoroughly.

Social reinforcement.

Scammers will tell you everyone's doing it and so should you. The scammers are lying.

Standing by your word.

If you agreed to anything, even just an idea, they will use it against you.

"You said you wanted to make money…"

"You said you'd like to work from home…"

You do not owe a seller anything until you make a binding contract … so do not make one until you check everything thoroughly.

Enjoying affirmation.

Scammers can be charmers, but once they have your money, you will never see them again. Don't be flattered out of your money.

Respecting authority.

Scammers will use uniforms, letterheads, government titles, prestigious institutions and celebrity endorsements to hoodwink you into trusting their credibility.

Does the authority check out?

Is it even legitimate?

Did their investment managers go to Harvard? Probably not, but even so, so what?

The fear of missing out.

Scammers will pressure you to act now, now, now, because time or supply is running out. Urgency is a powerful emotion, but separate your feelings from your decision-making. Do not be rushed. It can wait.

Identity Theft: Stealing Your Personal Details.

It is not just about your money. Your personal details are also very valuable to scammers.

Identity theft can happen in many ways, from stealing your wallet to sifting through your rubbish bin for discarded papers. Scammers can use credit cards, claim benefits, take out loans, run up debts, all in your name.

Look after your personal details in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions.