Apparently there’s this home theater scam going around, and she emailed Brad and I in hopes we’d pass it along to warn others. And because I know I’ve fallen for some dumb stuff myself over time – and probably will plenty of more times in the future – I figured it never hurts to remind everyone to be CAREFUL out there with your money! Here’s what she wrote:
“I completely fell for a scam last week. I don’t fall for much because I have a Ph.D in bullshit (or that’s what my dad tells me). I was approached in a parking lot and this guys asked me if I wanted a surround system and they had an extra one. They told me it was worth about $4000 and they had a magazine and shirts… very slick. So, like a dummy, I let go of my money… $280.
Anyways, I called a friend of mine and he told me I got scammed… and asked if I opened the box in front of the guys before I bought, I said no. I got to the house and opened it everything was in there – cords, instruction book, etc, etc… Something told me to go online and google the product name Paramax and a whole bunch of stuff came out about “white van scam”. Lots of folks have been hit up… MA, CA, OR, GA, etc. Sometimes the equipment works and sometimes it doesn’t. I read another warning it may short out and cause a fire. So this crap is going in the garbage like ASAP! Let your readers know about this scam!!! Like to approach people at Wal-Mart (where I got hit up), Target, grocery stores, etc…”
Avoiding this may seem like common sense from where we’re sitting right now, but most of us HAVE or WILL get scammed at some point. And it sucks. BIG TIME. But you know what? We’re human. We fail at things but we also learn and evolve into smarter consumers. It’s all a part of the journey, if you will. So I commend the reader for divulging all of this and turning it into a warning. I’m not sure I’d have the balls to do it myself! haha…
There’s a lot we can take from this too:
If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Cliche, yes, but still damn accurate. I can recount at *least* 5 times in my life so far when I’ve come close to falling for these things. The largest when I was in NYC and approached to “try out” to be a model. It was all so glamorous man! They were flattering me, snapping pictures all over the place, and even said they could book me ASAP! As in, As Soon As I Paid! haha… yeah, to “make it” there I needed to drop $2 Grand on their photography before they could be my agent. And I only had 24 hours to make it happen ;)
Most deals don’t require you to make a decision ASAP.
When you’re rushed into a decision, back away. Scammers like to box you in and create this sense of urgency in hopes of knocking down your guard – don’t let them! If you’re feeling the pressure, take a quick time out and go call somebody. Anybody. An outside view of the situation is almost always clearer than what you think you’ve going on. It may be annoying to hear if you really WANT whatever that person’s selling you, but 9 times out of 10 it’s not worth the risk. Give yourself time to research, and understand it’s not appropriate to be pressured into buying things.
Greed will get you into trouble.
Whenever we try to get a lot MORE for a lot less, we’re in some form or another succumbing to greed. Maybe not in the sense of using coupons and getting great bargains (that’s just being smart!) , but more in the “get rich quick” kinda fashion. Except in these cases the scammers are getting rich quick instead of us! When at all possible, do your best to strip these emotions out of the transactions and see if they still truly make sense. If your conscious gives you the thumbs up – great! Go for it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting more, you just gotta make sure the balances of give and take aren’t out of whack. And sometimes those “too good to be trues” dangling in front of you means someone’s about to get a raw deal – don’t let it be you!
So please, be careful my friends! Really think about what you’re getting into – especially if you’re about to spend larger than normal amounts of money all of a sudden. You don’t need to make decisions right there on the spot. Call up a friend or sleep on it. And if it’s not there in the morning, oh well! At least you still got that money in the bank ;)