This post was sponsored by CreditRepair.com.

You work hard for your money and the last thing you want to do is lose it in a scam. Millions of people fall prey to scams every year. They affect people of all education levels and societal classes. Thieves and fraudsters are evolving with technology and it’s important to identify the signs of a scam as early as possible to avoid costly effects that could take months, even years to erase.

Here are four warning signs that you might be getting scammed:

They Approach You

For most of us, when we want something we conduct research and then contact the preferred vendors or businesses. Unsolicited calls with exceptionally good news are usually a sign of a scam, especially if you haven’t received a written notice from the company before. If you receive a phone call that seems suspicious DO NOT provide any information before asking and receiving the following.

● The employee's name, ID and a call back number with their direct extension if necessary.

● The website of the company they are calling from.

● Information regarding how they obtained your information.

Once you receive this information look up the company online to find out if any search yields information pertaining to scams. If it is legitimate then you can call the employee back at the number and direct extension they provided to you.

The same goes for home improvement scams. According to CreditRepair.com “if someone knocks on your door or calls you and you haven't been investigating any home improvements, beware.”

They Invite You to Check Their Better Business Bureau Rating

Back in 2010 it was uncovered that the Better Business Bureau (BBB) was essentially a pay to play organization. If a company had money to pay the BBB, they’d receive a grade A regardless of customer complaints or customer experiences.

Scammers use the platform as a way to”legitimize” their business. Rather than referring to the BBB check out Yelp for customer reviews or ask friends and neighbors for referrals.

They Request That You Pay Up Front

While some business interactions require a deposit or payments at regular intervals, beware of claims that state that you have won a lottery, prize, or can invest in a great opportunity, if you pay a small fee in advance. According to the FBI, often times these scams require their clients to sign contracts where they agree to pay the fee. Victims often learn that they are ineligible for financing only after they have paid the nonrefundable finders fee according to the contract.

You shouldn’t have to give money to receive your prize money in return.

They Ask For Private Information Without Previous Interaction

Your private information is just that, private. A company that you have no previous relationship with should not request personal information such as bank account information, birthdate, or social security number without providing you ample notice such as a mailing, that they will need this information and that they will be contacting you.

This is not to say that something is automatically a scam if it contains any of the aforementioned warning signs, but it does mean that you should conduct extensive research on the company to determine its legitimacy.

For more information on identifying loan scams in particular visit CreditRepair.com’s Resource Center.