The rule for avoiding scams is, “if it sounds too good to be true, it is.” Yet, as often as that is said, people still get sucked into scams. It seems there is a need for more information in order to prevent problems.
It’s easy to get in over one’s head financially and to see no way out. Sometimes we get in trouble because we get seduced by the thought of owning whatever-a really great car or a house in the best neighborhood-and then when we get surprised financially by the unexpected, we get stuck. We can’t make the payments and we face repossession and/or foreclosure.
When we are under financial pressure, we wish for a way out. Anything. Magic. Along comes a person who tells you that you can have so much money for a little work and it is sorely tempting. Instead of analyzing where the money is supposed to come from in the scheme, we spend our time daydreaming about how the money will get us caught up. We listen to the sales pitch and even though we quit Girl Scouts because we hated selling cookies, we start telling ourselves that we can invest in the product and get our friends to buy it. Our desperation has hijacked our brain’s critical thinking skills and that means we are not making good decisions. We are just trying to find a fast way out of a problem.
Ironically, the fast way out often contributes to the problem. We buy the sales kit and and in that process lose two or three hundred dollars that could have been applied to the car payment. We now own a bunch of stuff that does not look as nice as it did when on the web page. We think about which of our friends will buy and realize most of them are in the same boat we are, with no money left over for widgets. We just dug the hole deeper with our attempt to get out of it.
Most of the time, people do not get into debt quickly. It takes at least a few years to build up a good amount of debt, to dig that hole. And, since this is the case, it is safe to assume that it will take some time to get out of the hole. Getting out of the hole usually means paying current bills along with paying overdue bills. This can be accomplished, but it takes dedication, self-discipline, and the ability to find a second job that pays a real paycheck instead of a bunch of pie-in-the-sky promises.
Scammers prey on desperation. Drastic emotions like desperation hijack the brain’s ability to think and make us vulnerable to scams. So, along with remembering that “if it sounds too good to be true, it is,” remember: “I didn’t get into debt overnight and I won’t be getting out of debt overnight, either.”