No matter how many times common sense tells us something is too good to be true, too many of us continue to become scam victims.
Anyone with e-mail access knows how electronic mail has become overwhelmed, in many instances, by scammers who send never-popular spam message in hopes that you will become an easy mark or share personal information that can be used to access bank accounts and credit cards. Among these bogus e-mails are the ones asking you to help someone in Nigeria with millions of dollars. Or others telling you you're the winner of a huge lottery -- a lottery you know good and well you never entered.
But the lure of money is one of the strongest emotional hooks known to man. That's why the promise of an unexpected payoff is one of the most popular police stings. Criminals are just as easy marks of a good scam as law-abiding victims.
In every story about local scams, the same practical advice is repeated: If it's too good to be true, it's a scam. And never give anyone you don't know and trust any confidential information about credit cards or bank accounts. If you get a legitimate-sounding phone call from someone claiming to be your credit card company or your banker, hang up and call the number on your credit card or your bank account.
It's easy to empty your checking account or go over the limit of a credit card if you're not vigilant about scammers. Pay attention. And be cautious.