Prince Charming and I visited Greece as part of our 2012 honeymoon. Our taxi driver from the Athens airport to our hotel near the Acropolis was named Giorji. He was so cool he even did a magic trick for us. After de-planing, we’d withdrawn cash from the ATM. 200 Euros. The problem was, the machine gave us four 50 Euro bills. When we arrived, we wanted to give the taxi driver a tip, although our grand total on the meter was almost exactly 50 Euros. Charming handed over a 50, and we began whispering about the need for a tip and to check our bags for spare change. Well, sometime between handing the fifty Euro bill to Giorgi and his hand receiving it, it turned into a ten! Amazing! He held it out for us, embarrassed-looking. “This is a ten,” he said, his expression that of an indulgent parent who has caught his child making a mistake on their homework.
Well, we knew we hadn't given him a ten. In fact, our whole problem of the moment was that we didn't have any small bills. We politely thanked him for his display of magic and left the car.
Just kidding. When we refused to give him more money, he said “are you sure?” and accepted our “ten,” possibly cursing us under his breath. Shaken and distressed at Giorgi’s attempt to rip us off so convincingly, we got out of the car, breathless and eager to put some distance between him and us. Later, we found out it should have been a flat rate of 35 Euros from the airport. He wasn't even supposed to use his meter.
It’s a common fear — worrying about being conned, hoodwinked, bilked, ripped off, or scammed. Especially as we build our creative businesses. There are so many services and products being dangled before us, promising to help teach us more about our art, or to give us the skills to sell it more effectively and profitably.
HERE ARE 4 WAYS TO STEER CLEAR OF HOODWINKERS:
- Be familiar with your money.
Know how much you have, and where it’s going. We did this in the taxi in Greece, and it saved us from getting totally scammed.
- Be extremely wary of anyone promising instant solutions – especially those that require a recurring monthly payment.
Google the heavens out of them. Google their name or business together with the word “scam” and see what comes up. Make sure they have a return or refund policy you can live with. See if there’s a way you can get to know their products or services for free. That leads me to…
- Get their stuff for free.
In the services industry, most true experts have a desire to see people succeed, and will give away a lot of their stuff for free. I do this. It gives you time to get to know me, and know that what I have to offer is helpful and valuable. You can decide to work with me or not, but either way, I want to see you succeed. That’s why I share so much free expertise.
For other, non-training based businesses, look for free trials and return policies that include shipping for physical products.
- Let go.
If you have a run-in or a close encounter with a scammer, here’s how to let it go. Don’t try to forget it happened, or downplay how violating it can feel. Just take a deep breath, and feel your present-moment emotions. Let the emotions naturally pass. Talk about it with a friend. Then put yourself in the scammer’s shoes to cultivate compassion. Their life must be full of hardship, pain.
Is there a time when you were scammed or almost scammed? How did you avoid it, or what lesson did you learn?
Please share your story n the comments section below. This can really help every member of this community to learn how to deal with the hoodwinkers of the world.
As always, thank you so much for being here. I truly value your presence, your heart, and your art.