Lately, scams on my Facebook and other sites are out of control. They are constantly posted, and the administrators of groups cannot keep up with them. This blog will review ten ways to spot a scam. Note that scammers always evolve, so these may get more sophisticated in the future.
Here are some ways to spot what a scam looks like. I pulled these from my page before I deleted them:
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Here are some red flags you should look out for. RED FLAGS means “things you should pay attention to because they are probably bad.”
1. TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE: There is an expression in English, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” If someone you have not even met says they can give you 100 or more points on the exam without you even TAKING THE TEST, that is nonsense. Do not send money.
2. ASKING FOR YOUR INFORMATION: These people often do not post much, or anything, about themselves. However, they ask you to inbox them or message them on Whatsapp. They do NOT have websites or an online presence.
3. GRAMMAR MISTAKES IN THE POST: I know not everyone can spot grammar mistakes, but they are CLEAR indication of a scam. I know English is not your first language, so this may be difficult. Here is an example: Thanks God, I finally got my TOEFL score of dreams after working with Dr. David.
This is not written properly. It should say: Thank God, I finally got my dream score after working with Dr. David.
4. THEY PRETEND TO BE DOCTORS: Since we are on the subject, people who start their names with “Dr.” and then use a first name are usually scammers: Dr. Thomas, Dr. David, Dr. Jonathon, etc. Here is the reason: In the United States, doctors are referred to by their LAST names. A Korean doctor would be called, for example, Dr. Kim. An Arabic doctor might be called Dr. Ali. These are just examples. Think of the famous television personality, Dr. Oz. His first name is Mehmet! We use the surname, or last name, out of respect. We do not use first names after “Dr.” Also, using our common sense, why would a doctor teach TOEFL? They are busy working……. AS DOCTORS. The most important thing to realize is that doctors have more important things to do than to help you get a test score.
5. INTERNATIONAL PHONE NUMBERS: Sadly, many of these scams are from abroad. When you send money, it’s impossible to get it back. I am NOT saying that all international teachers are fake. I am saying if you see a post that says, “Please WhatsApp me at +67-2999-44-66098” you should not message that person. If they have a website and a good reputation, I have NO problem with people abroad teaching English.
6. THEY HAVE NO ONLINE PRESENCE: They have no website, no videos, no blog, etc. Real teachers have some sort of online presence, even if it is a simple website.
7. A SUSPICIOUS FACEBOOK PAGE: Their Facebook page is very new and they only have a few friends. These are bots. I report them all the time, but they pop up again.
8. LEAKED QUESTIONS OR ANSWER KEYS: They offer “leaked questions.” This is a scam. So are answer keys.
9. THEY CLAIM YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE THE TEST: They say they can get you a score and you do not have to take the test. SCAM. You have to take the TOEFL test.
10. THEY POST SUSPICIOUS OR PERFECT SCORES: They have a suspicious looking “score” they use to try to look credible. Here is an example. Note how it is blurry and there is no date. Who knows where the person got this score? It is probably a Google image they downloaded! I have also seen scammers use perfect scores of 120 in their scams.