Scams Designed to Steal Your Information and Your Money

Criminals are becoming craftier each day. New scams and plots to strip you of your financial well being are being hatched and implemented every day. One common scam is “phishing.” These scams usually show up in your email with a system administrator message asking you to log in and perform some urgent maintenance on your account. You will then usually find a form with allocations for important personal information; it will look official but do not be fooled. Always call the institution directly and speak to a personal representative. At the very least, NEVER click the link in the email, but type the address directly into your browser.

Another common and very old scam is the Nigerian scam. This one is crafty but if you look closely, very unbelievable. You will get a letter, email or fax from a wealthy business man / widow / orphan / princess in another country. He or she very much needs your help moving a large sum of money into the country and requires a safe account to transfer this sum. Could you please just help this man for a fee of several million in return? The scam artist then drains your account in return for your trust. I know it sounds unbelievable, but many people fall victim to this scam each year. The rule of thumb, if it sounds too good to be true, it is!

Another common trick is to answer the telephone and find you have won a prize. All they need is a little information to verify who you are and then you will receive your prize money, television, credit card, etc. in a few days. DO NOT give out personal information over the phone or online unless you have made the contact! Ask the person to send you the information by mail – if they will not do this, HANG UP! If they do send you information by mail, review it carefully and check the institution with the better business bureau. It is always better to take the safe side.

There are scams everywhere and crooks willing to steal from the unknowing. Being well informed is the best guard against being scammed. Scroll down to view a variety of scams to look out for. New ones are added to the list periodically.

List of Common Scams and Techniques to Watch Out For

  • The Nigerian Scam (419)
    One of the most prolific and dangerous of internet scams has been the Nigerian scam, also called the 419 scam. Advance fee fraud has been around for a long time, usuallly via mail letters and fax to businesses, but this scam has hit unprecedented targets thanks to the popularity of the internet and availability of spamming software. While the fraudsters involved in this scam were originally isolated to Nigeria, they now populate areas all ...

  • False Charities – Profiting on Disaster and Public Sympathy
    Charitable organizations deserve our support and play a vital role in our communities. However, not all organizations are honorable and there are a lot of scams out there. Unfortunately, it is sometimes not easy to distinguish between the legitimate fund raisers and the crooks. Con artists play on our sympathy and generosity. Their scams take money away from those who need help the most. They also generate negativity in the public about legitimate charities. This ...

  • Scholarship Scams
    They say that billions of dollars in private scholarship money goes unused every year. 'They,' as in the slick salesman phoning you or a glossy ad announcing that a bunch of cash is waiting for you! In reality, nearly all aid comes from the government or individual colleges. The "billions" in unused dollars is a figure used since the 1970's, and is based on an unsubstantiated study about employer programs offering potential tuition to eligible ...

  • Free Vacation Scams
    "Congratulations! You’ve won a free, 4-day vacation for two in the beautiful, sun-drenched Bahamas!" When you get a flyer, email, or unexpected phone call promising a complimentary vacation, it’s likely a vacation scam. A current variation of the scam is an automated phone call explaining that you or somebody entered your name in a draw, and that you won. Of course, it's always from a perky-sounding female voice! Don't fall for any of it. Do ...

  • Work at Home Scams
    Work at home scams are everywhere, unfortunately. For a person wanting to take a step up in earnings, or someone out of work and looking for a job, these vague descriptions of potential ways to make large sums of money are usually nothing more than a scam. You can find advertisements making ridiculous claims in the newspaper, online, on supermarket bulletin boards, in pamphlets showing up in your mailbox, even listings on eBay. They brandish statements ...

  • Romance, Dating and Fraud
    Dating fraud is a crime that has many names. One of the most popular names for it is the “sweetheart scam”. The crime is so named because the criminal, male or female, will begin a relationship with the victim for the sole purpose of getting as much money from them as they can before they are discovered. Before the internet, scammers would meet the potential “suckers” at a party - maybe they passed each other ...

  • Guaranteed Loan and Line of Credit Scams
    Guaranteed loan and credit scams typically take your money in the promise of a loan, credit card or another type of credit. Their emails and advertisements guarantee that a loan to you will be awarded, and credit history is not a hurdle. The scam begins when the loan starts, you have to pay a fee. It’s a fairly substantial fee, but if you are short of cash and someone offers you a chance to get ...

  • Scams Against the Elderly
    In the US alone, there are almost 15,000 criminal organizations that are trying to scam the elderly. Each year that passes, these thieves and con artists will net more than $40 billion dollars from their victims, and that amount continues to rise. Everyone is susceptible to a scam of some kind, but seven out of ten of these criminal acts will be geared toward senior citizens. Most men will die long before their wives, and ...

  • A Criminal in Your Computer: The Foul Art of Phishing
    Phishing. What is it...and would you know it if you saw it?  You may think so--but watch out: today's phishing techniques are more sneaky than ever. Here’s the quick-and-dirty on how computer criminals are faking their way into bank accounts just like yours (and what you can do about it). Fishy Business Phishing involves posing as a trusted entity, such as a well-known bank or credit card company, in an effort to obtain a password or other ...

  • Rental Scams – Home Sweet Home it is Not
    An alarming amount of homeowners are facing foreclosure, and more so this year than in years past, will be filing bankruptcy. Unable to buy a new home until their credit has been rebuilt, these families have been flooding the rental market. Property management companies are seeing an increase in applicants. These new renters, though, aren't eligible to rent a home through many property management companies. Designed to protect landlords by screening ...

  • Cyber Crooks Breach ATMs, Steal Millions
    A story that has been unfolding since last year is finally drawing to a close with the guilty plea of a 28 year old man who has admitted to using hacked PIN numbers to loot Citibank ATMs. Aleksandar Aleksiev was arrested last May when a stakeout set to catch him withdrawing cash at a Citibank branch proved successful. Prime Time Drama? Alekseev is the tenth person charged on what proved to be an offense with all the ...

  • Twitter Scam is Latest Networking Threat
    Members of networking site were warned this week of a potential scam being issued to some users’ mailboxes, a Jan. 5th report said. In response, Twitter has issued a warning to its users to be on the lookout for the scam, which could be dangerously easy to fall for. Direct messages are sent to site members with such leading statements as “Hey!--check out this funny blog about you,” reports say. Since the scam was revealed, ...

  • Stimulus Check Scams Crawl Across the Web
    It's been done before: con artists are offering “free” software on how to receive government grant checks. According to the come-hither claims, a majority of U.S. citizens qualify for grant checks—we just have to know how to go about getting them. However, the impact of such bogus sites is bigger than ever in the wake of the development of an actual Washington stimulus package plan. Real government moves (or talk of them) are opening the door ...

  • I Love You – Can I Have Your Bank Account Number
    You meet what appears to be Mr. Right and you’re ready to believe every word he tells you. After all he’s wealthy, charming, and…or wait is he? What you should know before you open your purse.

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