It's a common story, everyone has heard it at one point or another, an unsuspecting person has been taken in by a scam. People's reactions to hearing these stories are usually similar, they always believe that it could never happen to them. This is exactly the attitude that scammers count on, people don't believe that they can be taken in by a scam, so they don't take precautions against them. Anyone could be trying to scam you, from the person who installed your home alarm system to the next telemarketer to call you. In order to avoid these scams you need to be prepared for them.
One very common type of scam is the charity scam. In its most basic form someone will ask you to make a donation to a charity, but this won't be a legitimate charity and the only person benefiting from the donation will be the scammer. Often this will be in the form of a phone call or a door to door visit. In either case, if you are unfamiliar with the charity but think you might be interested in making a donation simply ask the person for the contact info of the charity and let them know you want to take some time to decide. A legitimate charity will accept this. You can then research the charity and decide if you want to donate. It is in situations like this that you might occasionally wish that scammer had to wear flashing red lights so you could make them from the honest charities.
If you are dissatisfied with your job you might be more likely to fall victim to another common type of scam, the employment scam. These scams can take many forms, but they all depend on the fact that most people will go to great length to earn enough money to pay for things like diapers, food and shelter. The biggest thing you need to watch out for is any job that asks you to pay for something before you can have the job - this is often called a training fee and is usually associated with work from home job scams. You might also encounter "re-shipper" scams, where you will be asked to reship packages at your own expense, you will then be paid by a bad check, or not paid at all.
Another common scam is when you are told that you have won a prize, such as a brand new car but that you need to pay something - fees, taxes, etc - in order to claim your prize. The basic thing that you need to remember to beat these scams is that if you didn't enter a contest you didn't win a prize.
Want to know how to spot a scam so you are not the next victim? Read Citizens Advice.