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

 

Small Business Scams

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 8:38 AM

Bank statementScams that target small businesses can come in a variety of forms - from bills for advertising or directory listings that were never ordered to dubious office supply offers.

Small business operators and individuals with their own Internet sites continue to be confused and caught by unsolicited letters warning them that their Internet domain name is due to expire and must be renewed, or offering them a new domain name similar to their current one.

If you have registered a domain name, be sure to carefully check any domain name renewal notices or invoices that you receive. While the notice could be genuine, it could also be from another company trying to sign you up, or it could be from a scammer.

  • Check that the renewal notice matches your current domain name exactly. Look out for small differences - for example, ".com" instead of ".ca" or missing letters in the URL address.

  • Check that the renewal notice comes from the company with which you originally registered your domain name.

  • Check your records for the actual expiry date for your existing domain name.

A directory listing or unauthorized advertising scam tries to bill a business for a listing or advertisement in a magazine, journal or business directory, or for an online directory listing.

The scam might come as a proposal for a subscription disguised as an update of an existing listing in a business directory. You might also be led to believe that you are responding to an offer for a free listing when in fact it is an order for a listing requiring later payment.

Another common approach used by scammers is to call a firm asking to confirm details of an advertisement that they claim has already been booked. The scammer might quote a genuine entry or advertisement your business has had in a different publication or directory to convince you that you really did use the scammer’s product.

Be wary of order forms offering advertising opportunities in business directories. These order forms may look like they originate from a well-known supplier of directory advertising, when they don’t. 

An office supply scam involves you receiving and being charged for goods that you did not order. These scams often involve goods or services that you regularly order - for example, paper, printing supplies, maintenance supplies or advertising.

You might receive a phone call from someone falsely claiming to be your "regular supplier", telling you that the offer is a "special" or "available for a limited time", or pretending to only confirm your address or existing order. If you agree to buy any of the supplies offered to you, they will often be overpriced and of bad quality.

Protect yourself:

  • Make sure that the people processing the invoices or answering telephone calls are aware of these scams. They will most often be the point of contact for the scammers. Always check that goods or services were both ordered and delivered before paying an invoice.

  • Never give out or update any information about your business unless you know what the information will be used for.

  • Don’t agree to a business proposal over the phone - always ask for an offer in writing. Limit the number of people in your business that have access to funds and have the authority to approve purchases.

  • Effective management procedures can go a long way towards preventing these scams from succeeding. Having clearly defined procedures for the verification, payment and management of accounts and invoices is an effective defence against these types of scams.

  • Ask yourself if a caller claims that I have ordered or authorized something and I do not think it sounds right, shouldn’t I ask for proof?

 

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.

 

Internet Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 2:56 AM

three monkeys: don't see, don't speak, don't hearScammers can use the Internet to promote fraud through unsolicited or junk emails, known as spam and advertisings. Even if they only get a handful of replies from the millions of emails they send out, it is still worth their while. Be wary of replying, even just to "unsubscribe", because that will give a scammer confirmation that they have reached a real email address. Any email you receive that comes from a sender you do not know, is not specifically addressed to you, and promises you some benefit is likely to be spam.

Malicious software - also referred to as malware, spyware, key loggers, trojan horses or trojans - poses online security threats. Scammers try to install this software on your computer so that they can gain access to files stored on your computer and other personal details and passwords.

Phishing scams are all about tricking you into handing over your personal and banking details to scammers. The emails you receive might look and sound legitimate but in reality genuine organizations like a bank or a government authority will never expect you to send your personal information by an email or online.

Scammers use a wide range of tricks to get their software onto your computer. They may trick you into clicking on a link or pop-up message in a spam email, or by getting you to visit a fake website set up solely to infect people’s computers.

Scammers can easily copy the logo or even the entire website of a genuine organization. So don’t just assume an email you receive is legitimate. If the email is asking you to visit a website to "update", "validate" or "confirm" your account information, be sceptical.

Delete phishing emails. They can carry viruses that can infect your computer. Do not open any attachments or follow any links in phishing emails.

Online auctions and Internet shopping can be a lot of fun and can also help you find good deals. Unfortunately, they also attract scammers.

Scammers will often try to get you to deal outside of online auction sites. They may claim the winner of an auction that you were bidding on has pulled out and offer the item to you. Once you have paid, you will never hear from them again and the auction site will not be able to help you.

Listed below are tips to protect yourself and your family from various forms of Internet fraud:

  • If you choose to shop online or participate in online auctions, make sure you know about refund policies and dispute-handling processes, and be careful that you are not overcharged. Also, you may want to use an escrow service, such as PayPal. This service will hold your payment and only release it to the seller once you have confirmed that you received what you paid for. There is usually a small fee for this service. A legitimate bank or financial institution will never ask you to click on a link in an email or send your account details through an email or website.

  • Never buy from bidders with poor ratings on auction sites, and do your best to ensure that you are only making purchases from genuine shopping sites. Never provide your personal, credit card or account information unless you are certain the site is genuine.

  • Don’t reply to spam emails, even to unsubscribe, and do not click on any links or call any telephone number listed in a spam email. Make sure you have current protective software or get advice from a computer specialist.

  • If an email or pop-up offers you a product or service that genuinely interests you and it seems reasonable, be sure that you understand all the terms and conditions and costs involved before making a purchase or providing your details.

  • Ask yourself: By opening this suspect email, will I risk the security of my computer? Are the contact details provided in the email correct? Telephone your bank or financial institution to ask whether the email you received is genuine.

 

Funeral and Cemetery Fraud

by Rudolf Faix Friday, July 10, 2015 4:33 PM

CemeteryWith a normal expense of more than $5,000, funerals are likewise costly - and arranging one is a prime time to get covered in extortion.

Here are three approaches to maintain a strategic distance from the most well-known ploys.

  1. Demand the "rundowns"
    At introductory contact, government law obliges that memorial service homes give you three evaluating records: one for all merchandise and administrations offered, another for coffins and a third for grave liners or "external internment holders."

    This supposed Funeral Rule additionally restricts burial service homes from obliging administrations that must be discretionary by law, (for example, preserving), or demanding that coffins and different things be straightforwardly acquired from them as a state of giving commemoration administrations. Nor would you be able to be charged additional for administrations on the off chance that you decide to purchase the coffin somewhere else, a typical approach to spare cash.

  2. Prepaying? Utilization alert
    Long-range making arrangements for a burial service is constantly shrewd. Before there's a prompt need, your family - or even you - can examination shop with evaluating records close by and guarantee that courses of action are made precisely as sought. Yet, you can confront genuine hazard in prepaying for a memorial service, which you may do to lessen the monetary weight on your survivors or, as permitted in numerous states, to decrease your benefits so you can meet all requirements.

    Consider a late FBI bust of a prepaid memorial service conspire in which in the range of 97,000 individuals in 16 states lost more than $450 million in burial service products and administrations that were paid for ahead of time however never gave. Furthermore, there are unquestionably different situations where new proprietors purchase a burial service home and afterward keep running off with the cash.

  3. Be careful with fake welcomes
    In numerous plans, burial service homes cheat you. Yet, another sort includes criminals taking your personality.

    As of late, outside based cybercrooks have been messaging fake burial service notices. Bearing the stolen name and logo of a true blue burial service home, it has all the earmarks of being a welcome to a memorial service or recognition administration for an anonymous companion or associate.

    By tapping on a connection or opening a connection, you can as far as anyone knows get subtle elements. Be that as it may, when you do, malware is unleashed on your PC to take records, passwords and other delicate data. Headlines are regularly "burial service notice" or "going of your companion." Don't take the goad! Authentic burial service warnings incorporate the name of the deceased.

Tips for Avoiding Funeral and Cemetery Fraud:

  • Be an informed consumer. Take time to call and shop around before making a purchase. Take a friend with you who may offer some perspective to help make difficult decisions. Funeral homes are required to provide detailed general price lists over the telephone or in writing.

  • Educate yourself fully about caskets before you buy one, and understand that caskets are not required for direct cremations.

  • Understand the difference between funeral home basic fees for professional services and any fees for additional services.

  • Know that embalming rules are governed by state law and that embalming is not legally required for direct cremations.

  • Carefully read all contracts and purchasing agreements before signing and make certain that all of your requirements have been put in writing.

  • Make sure you understand all contract cancellation and refund terms, as well as your portability options for transferring your contract to other funeral homes.

  • Before you consider prepaying, make sure you are well informed. When you do make a plan for yourself, share your specific wishes with those close to you.

  • As a general rule governing all of your interactions as a consumer, do not allow yourself to be pressured into making purchases, signing contracts, or committing funds. These decisions are yours and yours alone.

 

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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.

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