A Reality Check for When It Sounds Too Good to Be True

OK, you’re a smart girl and you don’t actually believe for one second that you’ve won the lottery in Nigeria. Good for you. But have you ever fallen for one of these? Laptop computers $249! Make $2,500 a week from home! Lose 10 pounds in 10 days! Turn Yellow Teeth to White for Under $5. All these “offers” have two things in common. 1. They sound too good to be true. 2. They are too good to be true. It’s not that we’re naïve or anything, it’s just that we want to believe so desperately that these offers might be true. And so we will waste our time on them. Despite that little voice in our heads that says “this is probably a scam,” we go the distance and attend that weekend electronics sale, send away for that information kit or even order some product. Hopefully, that’s as far as it goes. But something tells me there are some of us that go even further – spending even more of our two most precious commodities, time and money, to learn in the end that there’s no cheap laptop, easy way to get rich from home or fast way to lose weight. And then come the regret and self-berating for having been so naïve!

Let’s not go there – don’t be someone who fell for a scam. You know about Snopes.com, don’t you? When we get an e-mail forwarded to us that we think is pretty incredible – that is, literally hard to believe – before we risk our credibility and forward it to all of our friends, we take a couple of minutes to log on to Snopes.com, search some key words, and find out if it’s legit.

It’s the same concept, except a lot more is at stake than your e-mail forwarding credibility. Save yourself time and money before you fall for something that sounds too good to be true by checking it out – much the same way you do on Snopes, at the <a href="Ripoff Report.com“>Ripoff Report.com. I’m linking you to the advanced search page where you can select the subject you’re concerned about and then read recent reports filed. Almost 12,000 reports have been filed and so odds are good of finding info on the scam that’s tempting you. You can also search by name of company. If you just want to search by keyword, use the search bar in the top right corner of the page. Consumer Reports.org is another trusted source of information on product-related quandaries. Although their best info is for paid subscribers only, use the search bar to get the low-down on lip plumpers and verify whether or not Oprah and Dr. Oz really stand behind acai berry products. They have thousands of articles that address most of the too-good-to-be-true products on the market today.

Fight Identity Theft.org has a good page with overviews of many popular scams, including those Nigerian lottery scams and some work from home scams. Also, look for the link on the left to remove yourself from the telemarketing call list.

One specialty scam avoidance Web site worth mentioning www.modelingscams.org details how to avoid becoming the victim of modeling scams.

Even a thorough perusal of the above-mentioned sites might still leave you with some questions, and if so, I recommend talking to a wise old owl – some savvy middle-aged person who has been there/done that, versus, doing a Google search on “scams.” In researching this article, I learned that very many of the same-self Web sites that are supposed to be informing the consumer against scams have ads in their margins for scam products like teeth whiteners and distance learning – earn your degree while you’re in the shower – that sort of thing. So just stick to the sites I’ve listed, ask a savvy friend, or at very least, e-mail Dear Gabby and she’ll set you straight.

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