According to studies, scams have been on the rise since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially cases of digital fraud. This means that more people are getting desperate and that more people are being victimized by these crimes. Edric Mendoza, RFP (Registered Financial Planner) and business anchor, has extensively covered news of scams, such as the Aman Futures scam, and offers a few tips on how we can avoid money scams and traps.
He states that a classic scam is a pyramid or a Ponzi scheme, where a scammer will create an investment and as they talk about it, the first set of investors will get their money and promise a high return of investment. While the initial investors get a return, as this trickles down and more investors give them money, the scammers only return part of their investment. When they have already lured in a lot of investors and are unable to pay them back, the scammer will then run away, either because they’ve made their money or because they are already under suspicion or investigation.
Mendoza identifies the anatomy of a scam as someone promising “high returns” that are “guaranteed” that you will receive “quickly.” If you hear these indicators, you need to run away or else risk being scammed. So before making any investments, watch out for these indicators.
He also identifies a problem with many Filipino investors, who oftentimes “trust the singer more than the song.” This means that even though they know nothing about investment, they will trust the words of people they know or hearsay about the investment without verifying them. Mendoza advises those looking to invest their hard-earned money to not only trust the singer but also ask and research about the investment being sold to you. If you do not understand the investment, don’t invest in it and investigate before you invest. You don’t need to be an expert on investment, but you need to understand the product or service you are investing in before trusting them.
Aside from the pyramid or Ponzi scheme, another popular money scam is the phising scam, which happens when scammers steal your data or personal information, whether through an email or a call or text. Mendoza says it’s important for you to know more about the person calling or sending the message to verify if they are legitimate.
For instance, if you receive an email from someone asking about your information from a person or company you’re not familiar with, verify if that person is legitimate. If you receive a message from a suspicious looking email address, don’t respond to it. Meanwhile, if it’s a person calling and claiming to represent a company, you can call the company first to make sure they are actually employees of that company before asking them to call back. As with the other types of scams, find out what these things are before rushing into them.
Finally, Mendoza reveals that greed is one reason why people fall into money scams. They want to earn more money in such a short amount of time but with a large return. He cautions those looking to invest their hard-earned money to not just investigate, but also to check our hearts, because the heart is deceitful above all else.
More than checking the anatomy of a scam, using your common sense, and investigating, we should also check our hearts to avoid being victimized by money scams. If something is too good to be true, Mendoza says, then it probably is, and that you shouldn’t let your greed drive you but instead check your heart and be vigilant.