How do I know if a message I received is legitimate vs. a scam?

6 Signs It Could Be a Scam

Our robots work hard to keep spam messages out of your inbox, but every now and then a very clever message might slip by our filters. Here are some clues that you may have been contacted by a scammer: 

  1. They Use Odd Language: Keep an eye out for messages with excessive grammar or spelling errors. Messages from scammers are often full of them. An occasional typo is no big deal, but an entire message of them is a red flag.
  2. They Complicate Things: They don't want to follow the normal rules (ie: want to communicate off the platform or asks you to do a complicated payment arrangement). Listen to your gut.
  3. They Have a Very Sympathetic Story: Most of us want to help people and so we offer assistance in any way we can. Don't let a "sob story" affect your judgment. If something seems off, it usually is. 
  4. Their Information Changes: Keep an eye out for lies and varying information. For example, a scammer may tell you the names of their "children", but if they're scamming many people, they may mess up. If the person tells you they have two girls, Sarah and Julie, one day and their names are Emily and Annie the next day, it's probably a scam.
  5. They Stick to the Script: Many scammers use the same email script and rarely deviate from that script, so you may throw them off when you ask detailed questions or probe for more information about the lessons. If they completely ignore your question and re-send the same instructions again, it's a sign you may be dealing with a scammer.
  6. They're Impatient: Scammers become more and more impatient and just need confirmation that everything has been done, so they usually try to create a sense of urgency with their story. They just want to scam you and move on to the next person. If the person is becoming overly antsy or anxious this is another reason to slow down and reassess if this could be a scam.

Tips for Staying Safe

  1. Only communicate Through TakeLessons.com until Lessons are Purchased: When talking with a prospective student you must use the monitored Ask A Question messaging system through TakeLessons.com, rather than communicating via your personal email address. This protects your privacy and allows us to monitor all electronic exchanges for suspicious activity, enhancing our ability to remove fraudsters from the site quickly.
  2. Don't Give out Personal Contact Information: Be cautious of providing your personal contact information such as phone/email, social security number, credit card and/or bank account number to anyone. (Please be aware, the TakeLessons website will ask you to enter in this information in order to process a background check and/or to be paid for teaching lessons, but TakeLessons will never contact you over the phone or via email for this information.)
  3. Don't Accept Money: Never accept a check, money card or money wire directly from a student. In addition TakeLessons handles all payments for your students, so you never have to worry about this!
  4. Don't Send Money: Don't offer to send a check, money card, or money wire for someone you have not met.

 

Related Article:

What should I do if I receive a suspicious inquiry?

 

 

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