I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend. (J.R.R.Tolkien, The Two Towers)

When I carry a gun, I don't do so because I am looking for a fight, but because I'm looking to be left alone. The gun at my side means that I cannot be forced, only persuaded. I don't carry it because I'm afraid, but because it enables me to be unafraid. It doesn't limit the actions of those who would interact with me through reason, only the actions of those who would do so by force.

Marko Kloos "Why the Gun is Civilization"

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Frauds and Scams

Anyone can be victim of fraud or scam. But 9 out of 10 times the elderly are targeted because they are more likely to have pensions, saving accounts, money marketing accounts, and jewelry.

General tip-offs to a fraud or scam

they contacted you first

cash only

hurry, today only, last chance, you must act now

something is free but you must pay shipping, handling, postage, tax, etc to

receive it

it is a get rich quick thing

sounds too good to be true

they want money up front first

need your credit card number, bank account number, or check number

scare tactics

Kinds of Scams

Credit Card Loss Insurance... they tell you...

they are a representative of your credit card company such as VISA or MasterCard;

that you must have credit card protection;

that they need to verify your credit card information;

that they have been instructed by the Federal Trade Commission to call credit card holders to obtain their credit card numbers and expiration dates;

that your credit card numbers may be wrong and you have to divulge your numbers in order to receive credit card protection;

that they are calling to check the security of your credit card number for possible fraud;

that they or anyone could get your credit card number off the Internet at anytime and therefore, you need to buy credit card fraud protection with a lifetime guarantee;

that you are liable for more than $50 of unauthorized charges on your credit card account;

that a computer bug could make it easy for thieves to place unauthorized charges on your credit card account;

(or imply) that they are calling from "the security department" and want to activate

the protection features on your new card.

that credit card protection would cost only $99, and

that you could cancel within 90 days.

Home Repair Scams

roof repair

asphalt driveway paving

furnace or water heater repair

pest control inspections


If any work is actually done...it is done with cheap materials or is shoddily done. The victim is over-charged for work and materials. Often the victim must put cash up front (for materials) and the criminal is never seen again.

Pyramid schemes

In the classic "pyramid" scheme, participants attempt to make money solely by recruiting new participants into the program.

The program looks like a legitimate multi-level marketing program.

The difference between a genuine Multi Level Marketing business opportunity and a scam is that the MLM scheme has END USERS. People who ACTUALLY BUY THE PRODUCT.

A pyramid is ALWAYS presented as a way to make money. There might be a product, but even the most cursory study will show that there is no real market for that product, and that the trick is to sell the product or service to others who would only buy it in the hope of selling it to others who etc etc.

Some people will make money from the pyramid. These are the people who get in early, normally those who start it.

In Virginia Pyramids are illegal. Code of Virginia 18.2-239 Every person who contrives, prepares, sets up, operates, advertises or promotes any pyramid promotional scheme shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Foreign Lottery

The original foreign lottery scams simply proclaimed that you are a major winner in a foreign lottery (that you didn't enter, or at least you don't remember entering).

However, in order to claim your prize winnings -- often millions of dollars and always cash -- you must first remit a 'contest fee' to cover processing and taxes.

Needless to say, anyone who submits the fee never sees that cash -- or the supposed windfall.

What's more, unsuspecting victims may have given out banking or other personal information in the bargain.

Telemarketing Fraud

Tip-Offs to Phone Fraud

You must act "now" or the offer will expire.

You’ve won a "free" gift, vacation or prize — but you must pay for "postage and handling" or some other charge.

You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number or have your check picked up by courier — before you’ve had a chance to consider the offer carefully.

It’s not necessary to check out the company with anyone — including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau or consumer protection agency.

You don’t need written information about the company or its references.

You can’t afford to miss this "high-profit, no-risk" offer.

Under Federal Law:

It’s illegal for a telemarketer to call you if you have asked not to be called.

Calling times are restricted to the hours between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Telemarketers must tell you it’s a sales call, the name of the seller, and what they are selling — before they make their pitch. If it’s a prize promotion, they must tell you that you don’t have to pay or buy anything to enter or win.

Telemarketers may not lie about any information, including any facts about their goods or services, the earnings potential, profitability, risk or liquidity of an investment, or the nature of a prize in a prize-promotion scheme.

Before you pay, telemarketers must tell you the total cost of the goods and any restrictions on getting or using them, or that a sale is final or non-refundable. In a prize promotion, they must tell you the odds of winning, that no purchase or payment is necessary to win and any restrictions or conditions of receiving the prize.

Telemarketers may not withdraw money from your checking account without your express, verifiable authorization.

Telemarketers cannot lie to get you to pay.

You do not have to pay for credit repair, recovery room or advance-fee loan/credit services until these services have been delivered.

To resist high-pressure sales tactics...

Say so if they don’t want the seller to call back. If they do call back, they’re breaking the law. That’s a signal to hang up.

Take their time, and ask for written information about the product, service, investment opportunity or charity that’s the subject of the call.

Talk to a friend, relative or financial advisor before responding to a solicitation. Their financial investments may have consequences for the family or close friends.

Hang up if they’re asked to pay for a prize. Free is free.

Keep information about their bank accounts and credit cards private unless they know who they’re dealing with.

Hang up if a telemarketer calls before 8 a.m. or after 9 p.m.

Check out any company with the state and local consumer protection office before you buy any product or service or donate any money as a result of an unsolicited phone call.

Do not send money — cash, check or money order — by courier, overnight delivery or wire to anyone who insists on immediate payment.

Sweepstakes scams include...

vacations (there are so many strings and conditions that they are virtually useless)

guaranteed 1 in 5 prizes (the one prize you win is of inferior quality material)

keep buying to win ( company implies that the more you buy the better chance you have of winning)

Even "legitimate" sweepstakes companies have become masters at creating a web of deception. The headlines, the words, everything about their mailers are calculated to get people to buy products they wouldn't otherwise buy.

Legitimate sweepstakes companies don't require you to pay or buy something to enter or improve your chances of winning, or to pay "taxes" or "shipping and handling charges" IN ADVANCE to get your prize.

The companies have:

created a false sense of urgency to respond to the sweepstakes so as to prevent someone else from claiming their prize;

implied that purchasing a product was a requirement or improved the chances of winning;

indicated that recipients were part of a select group vying for a prize;

falsely claimed that the sweepstakes were endorsed by the state or federal government.

Nigerian 419

You receive an e-mail, letter, or correspondence from a high ranking official or their family member of a third world country. They have a large sum of cash trapped in a bank in their country and they need foreign help (you) to gain access to it. In exchange for a percentage of the funds they want you to send them your bank account information so they can transfer the money first to your account and then to a safe account in their name. Once they have your bank information they clean out your account.

Identity Theft

How do thieves steal an identity?

Dumpster Driving...they rummage through trash looking for bills or other papers with your personal information on it.

Skimming... They steal credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.

Phishing... They pretend to be financial institutions or companies and send spam or pop-up messages to get you to reveal your personal information.

Changing Your Address... They divert your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.

Old-Fashioned Stealing... They steal wallets and purses; mail, including bank and credit card statements; pre-approved credit offers; and new checks or tax information. They steal personnel records for their employers, or bribe employees who have access.

Anyone who gives their birth date and Social Security number opens up their entire financial history to a thief.

What are the steps I should take if I'm a victim of identity theft?

Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports at...

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241, Atlanta GA

Experian: 1-888-397-3742; www.experian.com; P.O. Box 9532 Allen, TX

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud Victim Assistance
Division, P.O. Box 6790Fullerton, CA 92834-6790

Close the accounts that you know ( or believe) have been tamper with or opened fraudulently.

File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the identity theft took place.



At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately 419 scams and scammers are still going strong.

Luckily there is a group of people out there on the internet putting a damper on their scams!

Check out http://theScamBaiter.com

These guys get even with these crooks, and sometimes even get them arrested even though they are in Nigeria.

They are also avidly fighting eBay scammers as well, a terrific group there.

Last year at one time they got a group of scammers arrested; I think the count was around 50 or so.

There is a lot of funny stuff there too, you have to see what they make these scammers to so get "paid", check out their "mugu museum"


Johhny D

At 1:45 PM, Blogger ALEISH said...

A “credit repair offer” could be an attempt to steal your identity by getting you to provide personal information such as a Social Security number, bank account and credit card account numbers. Just want to share an article about Warning Signs of Credit Repair Rip-offs.

Hope this resource will be helpful to your blog and your readers too.


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