Monday, June 25, 2007

How To Spot A Scam, Part 2

Here is part 1

If you can answer "YES" to any of the following questions, you could be involved in a FRAUD or about to be SCAMMED:

Is the check from an item that you sold on the internet or Ebay such as a car, boat, jewelry or other easily sold or pawned item?

Is the amount of the check more than the item's selling price?

Did you receive the check via an overnight delivery service?

Is the check connected to communicating with someone via e-mail?

Is the check drawn on a business or individual account that is different from the person buying your item or product?

Have you been informed that you were the winner of a lottery? Was the supposed lottery in another country?

Have you been instructed to either "wire," "send" or "ship" money as soon as possible, to a large U.S. city or another country? (For that matter, are you being asked to "re-ship" a product to another country?)

Have you been asked to pay money to receive a deposit from another country?

Are you receiving pay or commission for facilitating money transfers (or product "re-shipments") through your account?

Did you respond to an e-mail requesting you confirm, update or provide your account information?

Have you been hired to be a "secret shopper?"

Have you been asked to help get money out of another country? (Another related method is to tell you that you will be getting part of an inheritance or business transaction.)

Have you been recruited to do any job and asked to keep it a secret?

If you answered "YES" to any of the above statements, go to your bank and tell them immediately.


Ultimately, whatever yarn is spun, most scams come down to getting a consumer to send money via a wire transfer overseas. It is never a good idea to wire money, particularly out of the country. Avoiding wire transfers would put a big dent in the success of scams from Nigeria, Australia, Canada, England, Mexico and other foreign countries.

Other advice for consumers:

Use Google. Dozens of sites now index large lists of names and other elements of Nigerian scams. If unsure, put parts of the story into the Google search engine (you can do that from my page here on the left side of the page) and click. If it is a scam, it is likely someone else on the internet will have published a complaint.

Verify the legitimacy of a bank. The FDIC maintains a database of federally insured banks on its web site.

Always use a credit card. Consumers have wide protection when paying for internet-based transactions with a credit card. Checks are easily forged -- even cashier's checks, sometimes called bank checks. U.S. consumers think they are guaranteed.

Banks can take up to two weeks to confirm authenticity of a cashier's check, according to the American Bankers Association -- even if the funds are made available to the depositor. If a check doesn't check out, the bank will take its money back. The consumer will be on the hook for any withdrawals made against that deposited amount.

Thanks to Bank of Oklahoma for much of this information.


Padawan said...

That's very good advice you give there.

The other thing to consider is how much information you may have given a scammer, whether you gave them money or not - identity theft is a big problem - so request a credit report and check your details if in any doubt.

P M Prescott said...

The yardstick I try to use was said by a well known scam artist.
"You can never be the mark if you're not trying to get something for nothing."