What are some of the best ways to protect your money from financial scammers?

Become a hippy and renounce all material things. Find yourself a commune and grow things from seed. Eat nuts and berries with other people who smell.

I’d consider that, but the thought of dreadlocked hair, pulling my kids out of school, and, well, you know, having to give all of my money away … isn’t really all that appealing.

So, I’ll take on the scammers. I’ve been fighting ’em for years. And, so far, only one el bastardo cab driver in Chile has really scored against me.

Here’s a few of my personal rules.

If you’ve never heard of the company, hang up. If they won’t give you a number to call them back, hang up.

If they call, but you have to wait for someone to answer the phone, you’ve been called by a computer. Hang up.

If you suspect the caller is phoning from overseas, can hear a particularly thick accent and a slick sales pitch being warmed up, hang up.

If they announce they’re calling from overseas … do I need to spell it out?

Put yourself on the “do not call” register. Get a silent number. Get a spam filter. No financial offers via email are going to be from anyone but scumbags.

And understand this. You will not win a foreign country’s lottery, receive an inheritance from a dead person you’ve never heard of, or get a job or a loan on reasonable terms via email.

Be sceptical. The road to wealth is long and tough. Invest in quality assets, regularly, and be patient.

Bruce Brammall is the author of Debt Man Walking (www.debtman.com.au) and principal adviser with Castellan Financial Consulting.