Monday, April 15, 2013

Fred's Anti- Scam Warning

There's a generic anti- scam story in today's Times- Standard. The story refers mostly to get- rich- quick or some relative needs money scams. I did write back in 2008 how I handled a phone call scam. I'll go a step further and mention prize scams. They work a lot the same. One statement in the article, made twice, I took exception to:

“Any time you are asked to send money in advance, that's a red flag.

It's not just a red flag, it's a scam.

I've been entering sweepstakes for more than three decades, even before the internet made it so easy. I've won dozens of prizes over the years. I've never paid a penny for any of those prizes, regardless of the value of the prize. If someone asks you to send money for any prize, it's a scam, period.

The one possible exception is some cruises. You see drawings for them offered all the time. One guy on a sweepstakes site I use mentioned he won a cruise but had to pay $180.00ish in some fee to go on the cruise. I replied that sounded awfully suspicious to me as I'd never had to pay for a win. The guy who ran the web site looked into it and found some cruise drawings do, indeed, require certain "port fees" to be paid to the port of embarkation.

Still, not a bad deal if you're free to go on a cruise. I don't enter sweeps for cruises, but if I did and was asked to pay port fees, I'd call authorities at the port of embarkation to confirm such fees were real. And, of course, if you never entered the drawing in the first place, it's likely a scam, anyway.
Sometimes people who really should know better get taken by scammers. Last year there was a gal on the Hypersweep site who mentioned in the sites' forum that she'd won a prize but declined it.

She wrote that she got an e-mail advising her she won a bunch of incense from some incense company. They said there was a charge of $8.00 or so to ship the incense to her and they'd charged it to her PayPal account. If she didn't want the prize she just had to go to her PayPal account (link provided) and cancel the transaction.

She didn't really want to pay $8.00 or more for incense so clicked on the link and cancelled the charge.

Anybody see anything wrong with that?

First of all, you never pay to accept prizes. Whether for "processing fees" or shipping, that just doesn't happen with legitimate sweepstakes.  

Second of all, unless she made prior arrangements, there's no way someone can charge your PayPal account without your approval. They can "Request Money", but they can't charge your account out of the blue like that. 

And that PayPal site link they gave her to cancel the transaction? Obviously a spoof site set up to look like the real PayPal site. When she logged in she gave them their username and password and  they could do whatever they want with her real PayPal account after that.

I was the first to advise her it was a scam and she'd best go change her PayPal account password as soon as possible. Another guy suggested the same thing a couple days later. We never heard from her again.


At 8:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Henchman Of Justice" says,

Online scams exist too where ordering products can be "set-up by the business" to thieve extra money off of consumer credit card purchases by ths method of deception:

1) as the information is plugged into the box, the order is taken unbeknownst to consumer who is expecting a shopping cart to review in order to confirm or deny any or all purchases.

2) As the consumer does not know this, the consumer looks for a "confirm order button" which does not exist.

3) Thinking the confirm button is on the next page, the consumer hits the arrow key to go to next page.

4) The problem is that going to the next page secretly adds some promotional scam onto your bank account for continued monthly charges in exchange for a plastic credit coupon card.

Government allows business scams, don't believe otherwise.

Government is only interested in the maximun return of tax dollars no matter how generated, even if by theft.

The two party system is full of frauds and liars who are allowing consumers to be thieved from again and again.

Yes, even local businesses must realize they too are part of the blame when local businesses create or participate in business scams. - HOJ

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At 1:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I receive an out-of-area or ID-blocked call, I let it go to voice mail. If they don't leave a message, I block the call from being received again.

My only grip is that my cordless phone only blocks 25 numbers, so I'm stuck removing the oldest numbers every few weeks. At the moment, I have 3 telemarketers calling me several times a day. And yes, I google the phone numbers to see they are indeed scammers.

At 5:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you get a call or a text, you can search on google to see if it looks legit. Also sites like is a community where people can post and report these scammers.


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