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Did you look it up? We all fall for tricks, hoaxes and scams once in a while, but 2012 seemed to be a year full of scams that we were more than willing to believe. Especially on Facebook.

Here’s a list of some of my favorite too good to be true offers:

Free Disney Tickets

Free Southwest Tickets

Free Apple products

6 Biggest Scams of 2012

They all look appealing and and seem to hit people’s desires. That’s why they work. We are willing to suspend our better judgement and click out of curiosity. The best case scenario is we look a little foolish. In the worst cases though viruses attach themselves to your profile and/or computer and identity theft becomes possible.

What concerns me is that there may come a day when we stop being willing to share legitimate Amber Alerts because we’ve been hoaxed so many times and a life is lost as a result.

So how do you identify the legitimate offers from the scams? True Amber alerts from hoaxes?

* First, take a moment and think: if this were offered to me by a salesperson in the mall would I believe it without reading the fine print? If the answer is “no” then you should probably do some research before you click the link, share or ‘like’.

* Second, it’s not difficult to Google the offer and find out if it’s real. It takes a minute or two and you can save yourself a lot of grief. Others were probably offered this deal first and someone will likely know if it’s a hoax. So save face and look it up before you act.

* Third, remember the old saying, “if it’s too good to be true it is.” This really applies to about 99% of the offers. An airline would go out of business if it offered 2 free tickets to everyone on Facebook. Apple doesn’t give away free product out of the goodness of their heart. Walmart, Costco and such are not giving away gift cards for ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ on Facebook. Clothing manufacturers are not giving away hundreds of thousands of pieces of clothing for sharing photos. They sell them and we buy.

Amber alerts can be easily verified online. The legitimate ones will have a trail coming from law enforcement and news media. The hoaxes will also be easily found by doing a little research.

So in 2013 arm yourself with information and remember, if it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is!

Happy New Year!

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