You never want to play “trick or treatâ€ with financial con artists. Unfortunately, consumers do it all year long. Here are 5 ghoulish financial scams that can wreck your budget on Halloween — and all year long!
Foreign Lottery Scam: Here’s one straight from Transylvania. You get a letter telling you that you’ve won a million dollars. All you have to do is sacrifice your personal identification and you are on your way to riches. Don’t let some financial blood-sucker take a bite out of your bank account with the foreign lottery scam. Just say no.
Mystery Shopper Scam: Some invisible man wants to mail you a check to deposit into your bank. Once the check has cleared (which it never will) he says you will get to go on a shopping spree or you’ll qualify for a job as a mystery shopper. Of course there is no real job. This is totally fictitious. The only mystery here is the identity of the financial predator you’ve just turned your bank account information over to. Do yourself a favor and make this phantom disappear by telling him “thanks, but no thanks.â€
Debt Collection Scam: You killed that ancient evil department store credit card balance over a decade ago. But alas, long after the statue of limitations has expired, some zombie debt collector is demanding payment – with interest and penalties too! Shoot this one in the head with a debt verification letter.
Home Repair Scam: After a recent storm or just normal wear-and-tear, your driveway or front yard looks like hell. But here comes an “angelâ€ who just happened to be in your neighborhood (you know, right after that latest storm or natural disaster has occurred). And oh blessed day, he wants to “saveâ€ you with some left over concrete to fix up your driveway.
Either that or you can pay him an upfront deposit and at a much later date, he promises to magically re-appear to fix your broken windows or cut down those trees that are now hanging perilously. Beware of the driveway/home repair scam, and send this fallen angel back to whence he came.
Work from home scam: You’ve heard the pitch: Make a thousand dollars a day stuffing envelopes. That means you will earn up to $365,000 per year! Sounds like a tempting deal, which isn’t surprising because in this case you’d be making a deal with the devil.
Want to work from home? Just clean up your house or apartment — isn’t that work enough?! Seriously, though, to earn big bucks from home, take a tip from the Small Biz Lady Melinda Emerson and start your own business or a legitimate side hustle. That way you can laugh (fiendishly, if you like) all the way to the bank. Muahh ha, ha, ha, ha!!!!!!
“Ask The Money Coachâ€ is a syndicated column written by personal finance expert Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, co-founder of the free financial advice blog, AskTheMoneyCoach.com. Follow Lynnette on Twitter at @themoneycoach.