Be careful when you're hunting for deals online -- poeple are eager to scam you with offers that seem great but don't pay off in the long run.
Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: While looking for a place to stay in New York City for an upcoming vacation, I ran across an ad for a two bedroom Midtown apartment with a couple of lovely photos. It was advertised for the bargain price of $120 a night. I emailed, indicating my interest, and I received a quick response. The apartment was in a building with an elevator and a doorman (and here's the kicker) was quite spacious -- 1600 square feet. I knew it was a scam right then. I've spent plenty of time in NY and knew that either that a 1600 square foot apartment was Manhattan-adjacent (like in Delaware) or nonexistent. The seller was willing to give me a break on the price -- $300 for three nights, but needed a $500 security deposit by MoneyGram.
Umm, right. My brother-in-law asked if it needed to go to a relative's in Nigeria. I replied that I was sure I would get a supply of free Viagra with it. (If you're not aware of the above scams, you must have a really, really good spam filter ...) I joked about the listing with friends and tried to report it to the authorities, but the posting had been taken down.
Unfortunately, many people, lured by a great deal, send hundreds and thousands of dollars to crooks like these who disappear with their money. The Internet makes it hard to track people, so most of the con artists get away with their scam time and time again. Be smart. Check things out. Looks for ratings and reviews on people you do business with and businesses you patronize. Do not send money to strangers in a way that cannot be recovered or contested. Be suspicious of the offers that seem too good to be true -- because often, they are.
A former state deputy attorney general and current stay-at-home mom, Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla has three kids and ten years of experience stretching one salary to cover the necessities and more. She's all about saving money whenever you can, so you have it to spend on whatever you want!