Poor people are scammed in more insidious and damaging ways, often taken advantage of because of their financial desperation. (Pexels)

Every year, we see a new crop of people being robbed by scammers who prey on the poor.

Most scammers target the rich because they have more money. These types of schemes often feature phony investments. Examples include non-existent oil wells, worthless companies, useless inventions and underwater (literally) real estate. Perhaps the biggest scam of all was perpetuated against rich people and was done by Madoff, a man was who pretended to be investing their money while living a life of luxury.

Poor people are scammed in more insidious and damaging ways, often taken advantage of because of their financial desperation. In the real estate crash, scammers took houses from upside-down borrowers promising to help, but actually used the house to scam both the homeowner and "renters." Scammers promise quick riches from murky investments, trapping unsophisticated people and stealing their money. Internet fraudsters promise large financial rewards if only a small fee is paid or personal information is revealed. Yes, people still fall for the "Nigerian" scam where they are told they can help a government official get millions of dollars out of the country and to them if only a "small" bank charge is paid.

Your first defense against scammers is simple common sense. A few years back, a group of scammers promoted supposedly secret, discounted, high-yield, bank commercial paper. So why would a bank sell loans at a 20 percent discount when the Federal Reserve loans money to banks at 0.25 percent per year? The old adage that "if it is too good to be true, it is" still holds.

The second line of defense is simple honesty. Many scammers try to enroll the victim into a scheme to supposedly take advantage of someone else. Do you really want to help someone steal money from the Nigerian government? How about the U.S. Government? Or a bank? You can't get hooked if you don't take the bait. Or as another old adage says, "You can't cheat an honest man."

Solomon said in the Bible that chasing fantasies leads to poverty (Prov. 28:19). He also said wealth grows little by little (Prov. 13:11).

You can get out of debt with our system of debt relief, and you can achieve financial freedom by sensibly investing over time.

Don't let desire for a quick fix open the door for a scammer to steal your future.

Ron Allen is a Christian businessman, CPA and author who serves in local, national and international ministries spreading a message of reconciliation to God, to men and between believers. He is founder of the International Star Bible Society, telling how the heavens declare the glory of God and the Emancipation Network, which helps people escape from financial bondage, and co-founder with his wife, Pat, of Corporate Prayer Resources, dedicated to helping intercessors.

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