Remember the classic story from grade school? “The dog ate my homework.” Maybe not as offensive as some of the phrases that children use these days, it’s still a good story and a good reminder to be aware of the things that could happen to you on the internet.
The internet has become a playground for rogues, where identity theft and fraud are as rampant as ever. Every day, a new scam is launched that represents to be very serious to those who fall victim. This article will explore one of the most prevalent scams being used these days.
The Nigerian scam, or known as the 419, is an email that claims to be from a certain “Mr. John Doe” of Nigeria. In his email, he claims to have discovered that due to the hardships suffered on his home planet, he has decided tohelp out. In exchange for a “seemingly small” sum of money, you will be given a large portion of this money as compensation for your help. Originally, it was to be a one-time payment of around $30.00. But recently, it has been going around that if you reply to the email and promise to pay up front for the money, the scammers will ask you to contact them again and again to increase your payment. Eventually, you will go so far in debt that they decide to just take your money. But hey, they really like you, don’t they?
Run away, But!
This scam is falling on its face due to the increased popularity of the online banking service PayPal. Rather than tackle the subject head-on, most people will probably wind up avoiding this issue and leaving it up to chance. This leaves them in a very precarious position. If they decide to get into this game and get scammed, they will have to deal with the consequences. But if they avoid this scam, they will be encouraging such behavior.
Avoid the $53 Scam
This email is hitting consumers on its’ appearance. Say you received a message saying you have received a tax rebate of $53.00. The message said that you need to pay the tax on your own (groups) and then you will receive $53.00.
Those who received this email were told that in order to get the $53.00 back, they had to contact a certain company in order to deposit the funds. The company asked that they pay the tax themselves so that they would receive the $53.00 back. In some cases, this company even asked that the refund be sent to an account owned by the company so that the funds could be sent immediately.
Not only was this illegal, but it was also fraudulent. The IRS will not allow you to withdraw money from your own bank account for non-payment purposes.
What Can You Do About It?
1. If you receive an email that you believe is a fraudulent, do not follow the instructions it provides and do not give out personal information.
2. Contact the company that was supposedly responsible for sending the funds.
3. Delete the email that you received from them.
4. If the company is purchased with other funds, see to it that your bank is notified that these funds are in the process of being transferred.
5. Contact the bank that usually advances the funds and inform them of the situation.
6. Inform your friends and family about this scam so that we can at least stop a few from becoming victims.
7. If you feel that you have been scammed, report it to the owner of the service or hosting provider that the fraudulent email was sent from.
8. Report the fraudulent website that was being advertised on Craigslist.
We must also consider the social networking sites where these scams are rampant. I see all of these scams every day on many different sites. Upon visiting such sites, I discover that users often report these scams as well. Here is a quote from a recent consumer protection article I read;
“Many of the complaints are highlight[ed] by problems such as stolen credit cards and check fraud. But authorities say that other less conspicuous scams, such as lotteries, fake entitles [sic] and fake prosecutions, are also widely reported among the complainants. Victims may be reluctant to complain, aware that such scams already have substantial financial consequences for them.”
This is a very disturbing article that will help you become more aware of the dangers that lurk on the internet. Although these sources of fraud will attempt to make you rich quick, it is important to know that you can become robbed of your money and your life if you are not cautious and aware. Take heed of this warning and protect your wealth.