The Scam Report

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Scams are ubiquitous these days. They arrive via email, postal mail, Internet, telephone, newspapers and magazines, even door-to-door. And as the economy worsens, you can bet that these scams will increase.

They attack homeowners, car owners, unemployed, job seekers, senior citizens, students, the rich, the poor, the middle-class. I'll show you how they go phishing. How can you protect yourself? This article will answer those questions and help you protect your pocketbook.

These scammers have one thing in common, GREED! They want your money and will stop at nothing to do it, including lying, intimidation, bluffing, even physical threats. Let's look at the various means they do it.

In PRINT. They sometimes will run a full page advertisement in a magazine or newspaper. They will appeal to the little 'greed' in most of us. Most of us want something for nothing, or the next best thing. Get it 'below wholesale'.

Usually a scammer leaves out the most important item in an ad. NO name, No phone, NO email, NO website. NO way to reach them except the mailing address to mail your check to. And, some won't even accept a check. They want cash or money order.

They typically don't accept credit cards, as they would lose their merchant account as soon as they were discovered. If the ad has none of this information and demands cash or money order, STOP! Don't send for it. It probably a scam. A legit company will proudly post their full name, who they are, a website, an email if you have questions, and a phone number, usually a toll free number.

And they will accept credit cards. Ordering by credit card helps protect you, as you have some recourse with their help. One way to help prevent others, is to write a letter of complaint to the publication. Why are they helping a scam artist? If it is legit, you may hear back from the editor.

By Email. Email, for the scammer, is a cheap way to mass communicate with millions of people virtually instantly. 20 years ago they had to do it my postal mail, and postage gets expensive. The email will have some outrageous headline. You click on the response in the ad, and are directed to a website that extols the virtues of the program, and how you can get rich too. They say tomorrow is to late. Click now, and have credit card ready. Or, it's FREE, but you wind up paying $50 to $100 or more on your credit card without you knowing it.

By Phone. The Telemarketing scam. They call and appeal to your generosity in the past, and ask you to donate, (via credit card) to their 'charity'.. Another is jury duty scam, where someone calls saying their from the police dept, or court house, and you failed to report for jury duty (even though you were never selected).

Then scam you out of a few hundred dollars, taking advantage of your fear. Advice, Never give credit card number or social security number over the phone.

By Mail. You receive a letter stating you won a lottery in Canada, Europe or other nation. Call this number and collect. But first you need to pay the 'taxes' or other 'fees' to collect. They then collect several hundred dollars from you to collect your 'winnings' of thousands.

Or the infamous Nigerian scam. That's where you receive a letter stating some official in Nigeria dies, and they need to get millions out of the country. And if you let them deposit the millions in your bank account, you get a percentage of the money. Once they get your bank account and social security number, they are gone, along with your money.

Phishing. You receive a call or email advising you to visit a website that looks identical to your banks website. They want you to confirm certain information, like account numbers, passwords, social security number. Then of course they have access to your account.

Foreclosure frauds, and loan modifications. They take advantage of homeowners in trouble and fleece them for thousands, some times losing their home in the process.

Job Offers. More recently scammers are attracted to website with resumes of people looking for jobs. They promote a fake job, getting you to fill out job apps and paying for information or fees, and getting personal information.

Fake Checks. The FBI reports this is a fast growing crime. Sending you a fake check, they look so real, then you deposit them in your account. If you are selling your car, say for $5000, they will send you a "Certified Check" for $6000, saying the extra thousand is for shipping costs, and please forward that thousand to some company.

You wire the money, and a week later, the 'certified check' fails to clear, and you are out the money.

Other scams include, home repair, car repair, the Deaf and Mute using TTY, Identity theft, assemble products at home, stuff envelopes, even kids and seniors get scammed.

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