Scams are aplenty these days. They certainly are nothing new.
Recently, we reached out to private donors for contribution to help one of our clients. Everyone who we approached unhesitantly said, “Yes, where do I send the money.” That is when it began – at least in one case.
How We Scam Proof Ourselves
Reputation is everything, especially in this line of operation – non-profit. Donors and the public at large want to know that their help is going where it is designated to go. Here at Daughters of Sheba Foundation every time we reach out for help, we make it very clear what the project is and who is the beneficiary. Going one step further, for the most part, donors send their contribution to our selected service provider or supplier.
Just to be clear, we do not send cash to any of our clients. We are not a bank. We are not a charity.
Imagine our surprise when this happened. After giving all donors for this recent case, the name and contact information for their donation, we got their receipts confirming the transfers of funds. However, when the supplier attempted to collect one of the transfers, she was told that it is on hold. Several phone calls later, we found out the problem. The remittance company said that they will not be completing the transaction as they have been scammed once too many times in Jamaica.
Without casting any aspersion on anyone, our donor switched companies and the transaction successfully went through a few days later.
Most of us have been scammed. You might prefer swindled, cheated or betrayed. It has happened to the majority of us at one point or another in our lives. These episodes usually involve a close friend, a relative, a lover, a neighbourhood con artist or even a fraudulent pastor. Yes, you read correctly – pastor, minister of religion.
Scammers. That is a word that my writing assistant does not recognise. So the red squiggly line appears beneath, screaming “warning, incorrect spelling or no such word exists.” Seems to me that there is a need for a similar “squiggly” warning to pop up when some answer their telephones or read their emails.
Many of the stories you read about people being scammed, hoodwinked, bamboozled have as the ‘victims’ the elderly. Seniors living on relatively meagre monthly income to this day still are an easy target. Their savings account balance, if they have one, is meant to cover the rest of their years here on Earth. Those who fall prey to scams will find those accounts empty.
Targets of Scams: The Gullible Or The Desperate?
World economies are again still floundering due to the COVID-19 pandemic. People across the world, large and small, are struggling across the world. Great Grand Aunt Sue’s are still susceptible to scams. However, con artists have evolved.
As this pandemic have people itching to go back to work, having been home for four or more months now, the scams now include “work at home” schemes. They are quite elaborate. I was the target of one such a couple of weeks ago. An online form completed, a five-minute telephone “interview” and the job was mine. The catch? Send my banking information for monthly direct deposits and make a couple of payments on behalf of customers. After a few choice words, I told the “Supervisor” to forget my number!
Why Are We Still Falling?
During my single woman days, and as I got up in age, women like me were prime targets for these scammers. Now, recently widowed, they are back!
Only this week, after receiving the third inbox advance from men professing their undying love, I lost it. The worse part was the messages were coming through on Daughters of Sheba Foundation inbox. Obviously these men know nothing about me because if they did they would know that my husband was murdered several weeks ago. I am in mourning and they are in love! Right.
As an organization, the scammers are targeting us as well. Every day, we receive a glowing message on Instagram, praising on feed and how great a brand ambassador we would be. The catch? To get the free products that this or that company wants us to promote, we have to pay for the shipping! How? By credit card of course. The scam tells itself from there.
Turn The Tables On Scams
Our donor was not being scammed, however, there are people claiming to be whatever type of organization soliciting money from people like her. The bank and remittance companies are taking every precaution to protect their customers.
It is, therefore, our responsibility to protect ourselves from these con-artists. Whether they are instantly “in love” with you, think you would be a perfect “brand ambassador” or building a school and need your help to get it up, you need to ask questions before going into your pockets. The most frequent one we here at Daughters of Sheba Foundation have been receiving is that these individuals need help to start a chicken raising venture. The minute we tell them that we would not send money directly to them, game over. Silence. We never hear from them again.
Tips To Spot A Scam
These are my top tips to stop the scammers in their tracks:
- Love yourself so much that you no longer need to seek virtual love or external validation
- Open your mind, read, investigate the world, speak to people and educate yourself. AND ask lots of questions
- Listen to your gut. If something sounds too good to be true – it is too good to be true!
In other words, L.O.L at those who would like to take advantage of you due to your age, your marital status, your kind nature or your seeming circumstances in life. Once you are in love with yourself, have an open mind and asks lots of questions, and listen to your guts – it will be very hard for a scammer to successfully target you.
Have you ever been scammed? Know someone who has been? Do share your experiences in the comments below.