Q: I'm a 40-year-old single woman. A few weeks ago, I met a man I thought was amazing, as did my friends. He and I began dating and took a trip together. After we got home, I stopped hearing from him. Shortly thereafter, I discovered that he had deposited $2,000 in bad checks into my bank account, as well as stolen my girlfriend's credit card and charged $10,000 on it. I'd like to think I would have known better, but everything happened so fast. How do I avoid getting scammed again?
A: By now I'm sure your girlfriend has alerted her credit card company of the fraudulent charges. There is some paperwork involved, but card issuers are often quick to fix these mistakes. (The maximum anyone can be made to pay for a fraudulent charge is $50, and most issuers will waive that amount.) As for you, how could this guy have deposited money into your account without your having given him access? Or did he owe you money and write you bad checks? If that's the case, why did someone you just met already owe you $2,000? Yes, he's a creep, but I'm more worried about why you got into this situation so early on in a relationship.