Service Scams

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 8:45 AM

Comic: It is 'Common-Wealth'. I am just taking my share.Many people are being targeted by individuals claiming to offer reduced rates or deals for various services.

These scams typically involve individuals that make offers for telecommunications, Internet, finance, medical and energy services. This category of scams may also include offers such as extended warranties, insurance, and door-to-door sales.

The two most reported service scams targeting peoples are the antivirus software scam andcredit card interest rate reduction scams.

The scammers involved in the antivirus software scam promise to repair your computer over the Internet. This can involve the installation of software or permission to have remote access to your computer. Payment for the software or repair is typically made by credit card.

Downloading software from an unknown source or allowing someone to remotely access your computer is risky. Scammers could use malicious software to capture your personal information such as user names and passwords, bank account information, identity information, etc.

Everyone likes to get a deal and scammers know this. The people behind credit card interest rate reduction scams often impersonate financial institutions and claim to negotiate with credit card companies to lower your interest rates. They guarantee they can save you thousands of dollars in interest. The caller will tell you that the lower interest rates are for a limited time only and that you need to act now. 

You might receive an automated call, prompting you to "press 1" and provide personal information, such as your date of birth and credit card number. You will also be asked to pay a fee up front for the service. The scammers will use this information to make purchases on your credit card or to access cash advances.

Protect yourself:

  • Only your service provider can offer you a better rate or price for their services.

  • Be wary of unsolicited calls from people offering a great deal "for a limited time only".

  • Don’t give out your credit card number over the phone unless you made the call and the number came from a trusted source.

  • If a caller claims to represent your bank, telephone your bank to ask whether the offer you received is genuine.

  • Ask yourself if you are putting yourself at risk if you are offering up this information

 

Money Transfer Request Scam

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 7:33 AM

dollars in an envelopeMoney transfer scams are on the rise. Be very careful when someone offers you money to help transfer their funds. Once you send money to someone, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to get it back

The Nigerian scam (also called the 419 fraud) has been on the rise since the early-to-mid 1990s around the world. Although many of these sorts of scams originated in Nigeria, similar scams have been started all over the world (particularly in other parts of West Africa and in Asia). These scams are increasingly referred to as "advance fee fraud".

In the classic Nigerian scam, you receive an email or letter from a scammer asking your help to transfer a large amount of money overseas. You are then offered a share of the money if you agree to give them your bank account details to help with the transfer. They will then ask you to pay all kinds of taxes and fees before you can receive your "reward". You will never be sent any of the money, and will lose the fees you paid.

Then there is the scam email that claims to be from a lawyer or bank representative advising that a long-lost relative of yours has died and left you a huge inheritance. Scammers can tell such genuine sounding stories that you could be tricked into providing personal documents and bank account details so that you can confirm their identity and claim your inheritance. The "inheritance" is likely to be non-existent and, as well as losing any money you might have paid to the scammer in fees and taxes, you could also risk having your identity stolen.

If you or your business is selling products or services online or through newspaper classifieds, you may be targeted by an overpayment scam. In response to your advertisement, you might receive a generous offer from a potential buyer and accept it. You receive payment by cheque or money order, but the amount you receive is more than the agreed price. The buyer may tell you that the overpayment was simply a mistake or they may invent an excuse, such as extra money to cover delivery charges. If you are asked to refund the excess amount by money transfer, be suspicious. The scammer is hoping that you will transfer the refund before you discover that their cheque or money order was counterfeit. You will lose the transferred money as well as the item if you have already sent it.

Protect yourself:

  • If you have been approached by someone asking you to transfer money for them, it is probably a scam.

  • Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone you do not know and trust.

  • Don’t accept a cheque or money order for payment for goods that is more than what you agreed upon. Send it back and ask the buyer to send you payment for the agreed amount before you deliver the goods or services.

  • Ask yourself if it is really safe to transfer money for someone I do not know?

 

Cancer Research Scams

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 6:13 AM

X-ray photographMost all of us have been there: a beloved wife, husband, mother, father, daughter, son, or dear friend is diagnosed with cancer. We know the treatment is painful and the cure, chancy. We hate the thought of the suffering ahead. What we want more than anything is a breakthrough - a cure that will also protect our loved ones from debilitating side effects.

And then we hear about a revolutionary cancer research project that sounds completely on the up and up...it just needs financial backing. Seductive? You bet. Understandably, people fall for it like a ton of bricks.

Take a case out of the FBI's Jacksonville office:

A woman claiming to have a master’s degree in clinical nutrition was successfully marketing a full-body "electrotherapy cancer machine" across the United States.

The wind up: She said it was a breakthrough development by a London-based team of doctors, lab technicians, and physicists from the combined research fields of electromagnetic field therapy, radio frequency therapy, crystal healing therapy, and "human energy" healing.

The pitch: The machine had been tested on local cancer patients in London who were now cured, and a European company had promised to buy the machine for millions of dollars. Money was needed to complete the project...and the return on investors’ money would be at least 50% and likely much more.

The foul: Thanks to an alert local bank investigator who was suspicious of an account suddenly receiving massive numbers of wire transfers in 2003, our Jacksonville office was contacted. We opened a case and turned two undercover agents into wannabe investors. It was just a matter of time before a joint investigation with our local Florida police partners turned up hard evidence that the full-body "electrotherapy cancer machine" was a complete fraud...to the tune of $2.5 million illegally raked in between 1997 and 2003.

Game over: In mid-2004, investigators had enough evidence for indictments on wire fraud charges. With our police partners - the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office in Florida and the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana - we arrested two subjects. Trials are coming up shortly.

Lessons learned: We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again: If it sounds too good to be true, it IS too good to be true. Whether it’s a miracle cure or a miracle return on investment that interests you, please first go down our checklist on how to avoid these classic "advance fee scams".

 

Fraud Target: Senior Citizens

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 5:56 AM

two seniors drinking red wineIf you are age 60 or older- and especially if you are an older woman living alone - you may be a special target of people who sell bogus products and services by telephone. Telemarketing scams often involve offers of free prizes, low-cost vitamins and health care products, and inexpensive vacations.:

  • Senior citizens are most likely to have a "nest egg," to own their home, and/or to have excellent credit - all of which make them attractive to con artists.

  • People who grew up in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s were generally raised to be polite and trusting. Con artists exploit these traits, knowing that it is difficult or impossible for these individuals to say "no" or just hang up the telephone.

  • Older people are less likely to report a fraud because they don’t know who to report it to, are too ashamed at having been scammed, or don’t know they have been scammed. Elderly victims may not report crimes, for example, because they are concerned that relatives may think the victims no longer have the mental capacity to take care of their own financial affairs.

  • When an elderly victim does report the crime, they often make poor witnesses. Con artists know the effects of age on memory, and they are counting on elderly victims not being able to supply enough detailed information to investigators. In addition, the victims’ realization that they have been swindled may take weeks - or more likely, months - after contact with the fraudster. This extended time frame makes it even more difficult to remember details from the events.

  • Senior citizens are more interested in and susceptible to products promising increased cognitive function, virility, physical conditioning, anti-cancer properties, and so on. In a country where new cures and vaccinations for old diseases have given hope for a long and fruitful life, it is not so unbelievable that the con artists’ products can do what they claim.

There are warning signs to these scams. If you hear these - or similar - "lines" from a telephone salesperson, just say "no thank you," and hang up the telephone:

  • "You must act now, or the offer won’t be good."

  • "You’ve won a free gift, vacation, or prize." But you have to pay for "postage and handling" or other charges.

  • "You must send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a check picked up by courier." You may hear this before you have had a chance to consider the offer carefully.

  • "You don’t need to check out the company with anyone." The callers say you do not need to speak to anyone, including your family, lawyer, accountant, local Better Business Bureau, or consumer protection agency.

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

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

 

It’s very difficult to get your money back if you’ve been cheated over the telephone. Before you buy anything by telephone, remember:

  • Don’t buy from an unfamiliar company. Legitimate businesses understand that you want more information about their company and are happy to comply.

  • Always ask for and wait until you receive written material about any offer or charity. If you get brochures about costly investments, ask someone whose financial advice you trust to review them. But, unfortunately, beware-not everything written down is true.

  • Always check out unfamiliar companies with your local consumer protection agency, Better Business Bureau, state attorney general, the National Fraud Information Center, or other watchdog groups. Unfortunately, not all bad businesses can be identified through these organizations.

  • Obtain a salesperson’s name, business identity, telephone number, street address, mailing address, and business license number before you transact business. Some con artists give out false names, telephone numbers, addresses, and business license numbers. Verify the accuracy of these items.

  • Before you give money to a charity or make an investment, find out what percentage of the money is paid in commissions and what percentage actually goes to the charity or investment.

  • Before you send money, ask yourself a simple question. "What guarantee do I really have that this solicitor will use my money in the manner we agreed upon?"

  • Don’t pay in advance for services. Pay services only after they are delivered.

  • Be wary of companies that want to send a messenger to your home to pick up money, claiming it is part of their service to you. In reality, they are taking your money without leaving any trace of who they are or where they can be reached.

  • Always take your time making a decision. Legitimate companies won’t pressure you to make a snap decision.

  • Don’t pay for a "free prize." If a caller tells you the payment is for taxes, he or she is violating federal law.

  • Before you receive your next sales pitch, decide what your limits are-the kinds of financial information you will and won’t give out on the telephone.

  • Be sure to talk over big investments offered by telephone salespeople with a trusted friend, family member, or financial advisor. It’s never rude to wait and think about an offer.

  • Never respond to an offer you don’t understand thoroughly.

  • Never send money or give out personal information such as credit card numbers and expiration dates, bank account numbers, dates of birth, or social security numbers to unfamiliar companies or unknown persons.

  • Be aware that your personal information is often brokered to telemarketers through third parties.

  • If you have been victimized once, be wary of persons who call offering to help you recover your losses for a fee paid in advance.

  • If you have information about a fraud, report it to state, local, or federal law enforcement agencies.

 

Health and Medical Scams

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 5:38 AM

Drug: Miracle CureMedical scams prey on human suffering. They offer solutions where none exist or promise to simplify complex health treatments.

Miracle cure scams offer a range of products and services that can appear to be legitimate alternative medicines, usually promising quick and effective remedies for serious medical conditions. The treatments claim to be effective against a very wide range of ailments and are often promoted using testimonials from people who have used the product or service and have been "cured".

Weight loss scams promise dramatic weight loss with little or no effort. This type of scam may involve an unusual or restrictive diet, revolutionary exercise or "fat-busting" devices, or breakthrough products such as pills, patches or creams. The products are promoted with the use of false claims such as "lose 10 kilos in 10 days" or "lose weight while you sleep", and often require large advance payments or that you enter into a long-term contract to participate in the program.

Fake online pharmacies use the Internet and spam emails to offer drugs and medicine at very cheap prices and/or without the need for a prescription from a doctor. If you use such a service and you actually do receive the products in response to your order, there is no guarantee that they are the real thing.

There are legitimate online pharmacies. These businesses will have their full contact details listed on their website and will also require a valid prescription before they send out any medicine that requires one

Protect yourself:

  • There are no magic pills, miracle cures or safe options for serious medical conditions or rapid weight loss.

  • Never commit to anything under pressure.

  • Don’t trust an unsubstantiated claim about medicines, supplements or other treatments. Consult your healthcare professional.

  • Check for published medical and research papers to verify the accuracy of the claims made by the promoters.

  • Ask yourself if there is really a miracle cure available, wouldn’t my healthcare professional have told me about it?

 

Follow me

Tag cloud

AboutMe

I'm since more then 35 years in the computer business (programming and technical support) and using the Internet since it has started. Since 2002 I'm programming solutions for Asterisk and since 2004 I'm in the call center industry.

Disclaimer

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis. By browsing or using content from this site you accept the full legal disclaimer of this website.


web page counter code