The ingenuity of scam artists is on the increase. It is matched only by the gullibility of many of the people who are targeted. Here are some of the top internet scams that have been making their way around the country:
- Nigerian Scam. An email says that the individual is trying desperately to get a large sum of money out of the country. The promise is that for the performance of a minor function, you’ll receive an incredibly large payment. All you have to do is pay some minor fees to have the money released. This is actually a variation on an old scam, with roots that go back to the early part of the last century.
- Up Front Credit Card Fees. In this scam, you are “guaranteed” a credit card if you pay an upfront fee. Legitimate credit card companies do charge fees, but they appear on the card after it’s issued, not before.
- Lottery Winner Scam. You’re told you won millions in a lottery, but must pay a processing fee to collect.
- Phishing Emails. In one way or another, the aim of the scam is to get you to reveal your ATM or other password. The emails often appear as if they came from actual banks, or from companies such as eBay or PayPal.
- Employment Scams. You are asked by an overseas company to handle their U.S. financial transactions. When you apply for the job, you give them your bank account details to allow you to be paid. Identity theft, theft of money from your account, and similar problems can be expected.
- Disaster Relief. These scams include fake charity websites, and usually originate with an email.
In addition there are a host of similar scams, related to travel bargains, chain emails (pyramid schemes), and the like.
But perhaps the most heinous of these scams to emerge last year involves the Newtown tragedy. One version involves the scammer posing on Facebook or another social media site as a relative of one of the victims. The request is for money to pay for funeral or similar expenses.
Our advice to our readers: first, check out charities before sending anything; second, if an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is!
Law Offices of David A. Black
40 North Central Avenue #1400
Phoenix, AZ 85004