9 Financial Threats And Scams You Have To Watch Out For

"Ber" months are fast approaching. Unfortunately that usually also means more scam are headed our way.

Fortunately, today we have guest blogger Carmina Natividad to share with use tips on what to watch out for to keep our money safe.

In a society, where different faces of crimes are getting more rampant, you can't blame other people for losing their faith in humanity. Criminals give in to illegal doings and take advantage of other people for personal gain. These misdeeds can happen anywhere and anytime, and the scary part is each one of us can be a potential victim.

Now, let's talk about the "root of all evil," as they say - money. Financial fraud is one of the crimes we usually see on television. We witness how thieves have become smarter in stealing, and how their ways evolved from directly robbing a bank and threatening citizens to using digital platforms and technology for luring gullible victims and getting funds from them effortlessly.

Just to raise awareness and eliminate the growing number of victims, we listed nine fraudulent activities these smooth criminals might be doing at this very moment.

1. “Congratulations you have won”

Advanced fee scams trick you into receiving instant money, goods, or services. One of the most popular examples of these scams is the "Nigerian Scam," where the fraud is claiming to be a dethroned prince from Nigeria who wishes to transfer a piece of his wealth to you. The catch is you have to give your bank account information and pay money upfront for the transfer fees and other charges they invented so they can send you the "gift" they promised.

Another scheme similar to this is an e-mail, text message, or phone call saying that you have been chosen as one of the winners of a draw sponsored by a renowned company. The sender pretends to be a secretary and talks to you in a professional manner to convince you that the transaction is legit. However, these scams are just meant to make you bite the bait and pay for imaginary fees in order to get your imaginary prize.

2. Identity Fraud

“Hey, it's Anna. I'm stuck here and I need cash badly so I could go home. Can you help me out?" Have you received this suspicious e-mail from a "friend"? Well, it's okay to be skeptical because these kinds of e-mails are sent not by your loved ones but by identity thieves. The scammer gets hold of a person's details and even hacks their e-mail accounts then uses that person's name to get money or goods from their victims.

3. Fraudulent investments

“Don't you want to double your money? If you do, then waste no time and invest now before this gold turns into a rock.” This is just one of the salivating statements to get you into buying shares in a company you've never heard of or invest in overpriced products that promise you tons of money in return.

These scams are called  “boiler room scams” where scammers cold-call people and persuade them into buying shares that guarantee high returns. The truth is the shares are either non-existent or worthless. Fraudsters also lure victims with invitations to free luncheons where they pitch these fake investments to them, implying you the idea of giving back.

4. Phishing and Fake Websites

If you always shop or bank online, beware of some fraudulent sites which are set up to steal your money and personal identity. These fake websites usually resemble shopping and internet auction sites wherein they sell you goods but after you entrust them your information and payment, your goods never arrive and your e-mails are unanswered.

Some websites also mimic the ones of the banks and payday loan companies. Fraudsters use “phishing” to obtain your personal and financial details. Some of them will send you an e-mail, requiring you to update your account by logging in using their fake websites. These websites typically have a low-quality, unusual pop-up messages, and have no lock icon (security) or "https" located in the address bar.

5. The Card Skimmers

Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are also used as a medium for thieves' illegal activities. One of the most common ATM scams is card skimming, where a card reader, which automatically captures data from the ATM card's magnetic strip, is installed on top of the machine's card slot. Aside from ATMs, card skimming is also done with credit cards, since the "take" can be higher compared to ATM cards.

6. The Cash Trappers

In cash trapping, the suspect installs a fabricated “ruler” or a "false ATM presenter" onto the cash dispenser which looks exactly like the machine's cash out shutter. When an unsuspecting victim tries to withdraw, the cash will be trapped inside and won't come out. Once the cardholder leaves thinking that there's just something wrong with the machine, the suspect will remove the device with the cash still glued on.

7. The Faux PIN Keypad

Before you use the ATM, inspect anything that is suspicious. Some fraudsters use a device similar to the machine's keypad and place it on top of the ATM keypad. The device then captures the PIN as the cardholder types it out.

8. ATM vestibule scam

Even ATM vestibules, which seems like safe places for ATM transactions, are used by thieves for their wrongdoings. In these vestibules, you often have to swipe card on a magnetic reader to have access to the ATM. What the thieves would do is they will place a counterfeit magnetic reader on the outside door which copies card number. A hidden camera is also placed to record customers encoding their PINs. Criminals will then create a duplicate card and use the PIN to take funds from the victim's account.

9. The ATM Ninjas

It's acceptable to be skeptical when you're lining up to access ATM. Always keep a distance from people lining up with you, especially if they are suspiciously standing close to you, for they may be thieves thinking of possible stealing tactics.

While you're currently transacting, there might be a criminal peeping over your shoulder and trying to memorize your PIN. Some thieves go high-tech and use small cameras in capturing PINs being inputted by the card holder. Some thieves will keep it personal and pretend to be helpful, especially to people who seems gullible and easily distracted, like the elderly.

Some thieves, like the "laglag barya (coin drop) gang" in the Philippines, use forms of distraction to take advantage of cardholders. The suspects drop some loose coins when the cardholder is about to get his cash out of the dispenser. When the victim gets to pick up the coins, thinking that the coins belong to him, one of the suspects immediately gets the cash out of the shutter and disappears.

Author Bio:
Like other young adults, Carmina Natividad also experiences struggles in saving money, yet she finds a way to become a responsible spender. She shares her views on money issues by being a daytime writer for Speedy Money Cash Loans, an Australian-based business, providing short-term borrowing solutions.


  1. Wonderful blog! So helpful! and local wisdom, too! Thanks a million!

    1. Hi rightbrainier,

      Thanks also for dropping by!

  2. Hi Tom,

    I've replied to your email, and I'm not sure if you receieved my reply. I also saw the comment you posted here, and did not publish it as you seemed to want to keep it private.

    Please feel free to contact me via email, facebook, twitter or google+ - whichever is more familiar to you. I'll keep an eye out for your message

  3. Dear Carlos, I read your first email right away...but had a heavy day today. I will do my best on the weekend to present by Monday a complete fact sheet to you. Have a good weekend. I am very grateful to you for giving me some hope!