Nigerian 419 Still Going Strong

With the birth of the internet has also come the birth of the internet scam. There are as many different internet scams as there are internet users, and many of them seem very convincing.

One of the most ubiquitous, and oldest, of internet scams is the Nigerian Get Rich Quick scam.

The Nigerian Get Rich Quick scam takes many forms, but is most often done under the guise of having a Nigerian relative or official who has passed away and has left inheritance. The scammer sends an e-mail (generally poorly worded and in broken English) that names the person who has just died and that he or she is the executor of the estate. The executor of the estate requests that you send an e-mail in reply acknowledging receipt of the e-mail. Once the e-mail is replied to, a second e-mail is sent out requesting personal information from the recipient of the inheritance.

Nigerian 419 Scam - Not A Way to Get RichUsually the e-mail requests such things as name, date of birth, address, contact phone number, etc. Up until this point, the scam seems fairly legitimate, except, perhaps, that the recipient is not aware that he or she has a Nigerian relative.

The e-mail following the second e-mail is generally the one that tips off even Internet newcomers that there is a scam. The e-mail requests that the beneficiary send money to Nigeria for the will to be completely processed. Often, the e-mail stipulates that the estate is frozen until money is repaid to debtors. Usually the executor requests that the money be sent via Western Union money transfer, though he may also accept a money order, usually, cheques are not accepted.

Once the supposed beneficiary sends out the money, they are promised they money in a cheque sent to the address provided. Sometimes, a fraudulent cheque is sent, and other times there is no cheque at all. If the ‘beneficiary’ tries to send a subsequent e-mail asking where their money is, more often than not, the e-mail address will have been inactivated, and they will realize that they have been scammed.

This summary is only an example of one form of the Nigerian Get Rich Quick scam. Sometimes, it takes the form of having won the Nigerian Lottery, another version of the scam occurs on dating websites. Sometimes, on dating websites, Nigerians will request money to relocate to the United States, or to maintain an internet connection. There is often a promise to pay you back with money from an inheritance, or lottery winnings etc.

With the advent of better spam filters that come with modern security packages, these scam e-mails will now often not ever reach your inbox. However, spam filters will not always filer every e-mail and there are some rules of thumb to avoid getting scammed.

First, unsolicited e-mails are always suspicious, especially ones written in very broken English.

Second, paying money to get money is almost always indicative of a scam.

Thirdly, always deal locally; avoid sending money, or dealing with people who are from overseas, or ever people from different states. Laws vary from country to country, state to state, and even city to city, the closer you stay to your home, the less likely you are to get scammed. And if you do get scammed, you have more recourse with local scams that foreign ones.

So, with a little forethought, you can avoid getting scammed, and make your money only fall into the right hands.

BTW if anybody wants to enjoy seeing the scammers being scammed then go take a look at 419Eater.

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Work At Home Scams

Today's economy is officially sending thousands, possibly even millions, of potential workers to the internet to find a work-at-home job. These job seekers include people recently laid off, people searching for a supplemental income, stay-at-home mothers and fathers who are wanting to contribute to the household.

Uncle Scam Needs YOUR MoneyIt is a perfect breeding ground for scams, it would seem. You can't expect ScamBusters or the myriad of other scam registry sites to pick up and get everything, though. There is always a chance that this scam is new and not been recorded yet.

Among my favorite tell-tale signs, however, include those sites that promise you that you can make a thousand dollars in overnight. Actually, I search the internet and look through them just to compare and contrast in the creativity. I am especially fond of the folks who copy-paste the image of the e-check for $2,652.30 and grab stock images probably found on Google, and then copy-paste “reviews,” often starting with the priceless “I'm not usually one to leave a review, but Product X is the greatest thing to ever happen to me!”.

Now, there are several places that these are legitimate (aside from the apparently stock image of the e-check for $2,652.30) and are just trying to pull people in with atypical results, though odds are they are not as autopilot as they want you to believe. Now, I don't know how to break this to you all, but…THIS IS A SCAM IN ITSELF! We call it “false advertising.” To my knowledge, the only person who makes that kind of money is the creator of the system.

Google Money Tree - One of Many ScamsIf this comes off cynical, this is because I am a member of several email newsletters that have been circulating from the leaders of the Google Money System circuit. Unfortunately, no names will be given, but I assure you that you've run into them once or twice. The best way I can think of to keep yourself from scams would be to avoid the any of the Money System, Google Cash, Money Tree etc, no matter how hilarious the emails they come with are.

I can guarantee you that a vast majority of them are scams and are not worth your money. You may be able to make the cover charge back in…oh, two years, maybe? If the package arrives at all?

Also, have you ever noticed that the pages that you are putting personal information into are not https? Think about that for a minute. That's right, you're not on a secure site. Anyone can find your information. To avoid scams, I would suggest joining a group such as Work At Home Moms. They always keep a sharp eye out for scams and will make sure that their group will not get associated with such a debacle. The customer service there is also top notch. If you have any questions, they will be sure to have them answered shortly. Job searchers, get your resumes ready to post!

You don't need someone to distract you with instant results and bright colors to get your income!

Honest work is the best policy!

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e-Whore – The 21st Century ‘Lady’ of the Night

E-whoring is a term that refers to a new brand of money-making schemes on the web. Most people know now not to listen to mass emails from Nigerian Princes or banks promising them money if they help them, but new and more subtle forms of money scams have emerged.
If you or someone you know has fallen subject to an e-whore you are more familiar with this phenomenon. Perhaps you think you know enough not to get fooled again. Still, educate yourself and read as much as possible, and don’t stop reading this. You never know if you could get fooled in a new and different way.
If you have never, as far as you know, fallen prey to an internet e-whore scam then this information is still more important than you might think. Nobody is airtight and the internet is far from a secure place, with billions of users and very little security.
E-whores will try to get or earn money from someone interested in meeting or talking to someone but will appear so attractive and deceptive that you might just let them walk away with your money.
Still not convinced? It could happen far more easily than you think. If I could be obvious for one second, never let anyone have your credit card number. Everyone knows this, everyone has heard this, and likely you know too. But also don’t give out your credit card number to verify who you are.
What? Don’t be insulted. Scammers will hide behind what looks like credible-looking sites rather than asking outright for your credit card number. These sites may claim or appear not to charge you and may even seem like real companies but once they have your number the small print will kick in. Commonly the small print will read that unless you do something your credit card will be charged $XX in the next 3 days. The tasks that you need to do change, however in some cases these tasks include submitting your credit card to several different sites. These sites will have a similar scheme going on and you will be facing even greater charges.
 E-whores love to troll dating sites and pretend to be interested in you. Sure, she looks pretty. Um, he.  S/he will tell you she doesn’t like to use this site and to sign up for her favourite social/networking or possibly a  xxx site. It requires a credit card to sign up, but offers a free trial that you can cancel before it charges you. If you give your credit card number, you will soon find that they are charging large monthly membership amounts and are impossible to cancel.
Yay.
Okay, so you stop giving out personal information on the internet. What about taking it? Seems idiot proof enough, doesn’t it? Pretty “ladies” on dating sites will often give out cell numbers and say they are never on the computer but would really love to meet you! If you text these numbers you will be automatically signed up for a monthly service and charged a fee every month that you cannot cancel.
This give a whole new meaning to “do not talk to strangers”.
Another expensive lesson learned. The third method you won’t notice is a pay-per-click link. It doesn’t cost you any money to click on the ad, but it does make the pretty lady some money, in the form of an advertiser paying pennies per click on a link the “e-whore” posts on every website, forum, and yes, your dating profile, and so benefits them to pose as an attractive lady that you really would like to get to know better.
I am always telling you to hide your online identity with software, but in this case software will not help. You must always remember that people are out there to con you, there are software packages available for sale which automate much of this process. So the lovely s/he you are falling for could quite possibly not even be human…
Oh and no Ivan has not been caught out!
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The Fake Review Site Scam

Dont always believe online reviewsThe internet has opened a whole new avenue for marketing of products. E-business volumes have gone up significantly and with the proliferation of the internet these will increase many times over in the future. The internet apart from creating a marketing opportunity has enabled a lot of creative means to market products.

Initially it was just plain vanilla marketing, and then came in the online procurement and payment systems. Along with this came the process of evaluation of the products. Forums were created to discuss the products etc. If done with a good intent this would have been excellent way of letting the consumer make a right decision based on the actual inputs and feedback from other consumers. Unfortunately, the internet has huge disadvantage of being anonymous and as a result this facility can be misused in wither promoting a product or vice versa.

In many cases, it could be that there is a cabal formed by affiliates who can post very positive reviews about a product which can lead a potential customer to believe about the product based on the feedback only to understand later when they actually receives the product.

Can this be curbed? Not really.

However there can be other checks and balances that a potential consumer can put to use. Post queries in forums that are not managed by the site that you are referring to. Check the trend of the responses. If you find all positives with very little negative inputs then you need to find out be extra careful and cautious so as to make additional checks. Also try to find patterns in the language, the date of the posting and such other pointers as these could sometime give away these aspects quite blatantly.

Additionally, try finding out feedback from other websites which may sell a competing product as there could be a reference available about the product that you are looking for. Use other set of data pointers like whether the company is a listed and reputed brand, its existence, your ability to check out the product at a local store, the place from where the company is conducting its business, the mode of payment etc.

One must not be carried away by the fact that this is internet marketing. After all it is human and therefore there has to be caution exercised.

Another aspect to be borne in mind is the information available on the internet has not reached a point where it can be easily used in a court of law for mis-representation as the marketers could always claim that they were not aware of the person who posted that information. It will take time for cyber laws to evolve, and it is doing so slowly.

If you cannot make a decision, then you may choose not to buy it. It is better to buy a known product for a few dollars more than buying something worthless and repenting. It is better to be safe than sorry. In summary, whatever the checks and balances, the maxim – Caveat Emptor – Let the Buyer Beware prevails and products sold on the internet are no exception.

Happy online shopping!!
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Protect Your Identity – Don’t Be Scammed

Internet Scams Are EverywhereThe internet provides a whole host of opportunities that were not available just a short time ago. One less desirable opportunity that has become a part of using the internet is coming into contact with unscrupulous people who are using the internet to rip people off.

And there is no shortage of opportunities to be ripped off if a person is not careful!

So to avoid being ripped off you have to make every effort fend off the many rip off artists that now prowl the net. There are some basic steps that you can be taken to protect yourself from internet rip off scams.

The first step to take is to make sure that you have a current version of a comprehension antivirus, anti spam, anti spyware program loaded on all computers that you use to access the internet. The cost of the program verses the risk and likelihood of attack is very good. The average software package can be purchased for fifty to sixty dollars.

The second step to take is to develop some routines that you follow when using the internet. Never go to a website that you are not certain is safe. Good  antivirus protection software such Trend Micro will flag sites that are potentially being used to scam and rip people off. If that warning comes up do not progress onto that page.

Trend Micro Internet Security 2010

Next if a website requests personal information without good reason, do not give out the information. The only site that you want to give personal information to is a site that you have contacted to do business with. If you haven’t contacted the site for the purpose of making a purchase or doing some kind of internet activity such as playing a game do not fill out anything that requests your personal information.

The next step to take is to avoid giving information in response to confirmation requests. Your bank or online payment website or online auction site will not request that you give personal information in response to an email. They will ask you to visit their site and update it. Scam artists are sending requests to confirm information for all kinds of different types of accounts including credit cards, online payment sites, bank accounts, college financial information, or anything else that might contain personal information.

Protect Yourself From ScamsAnother key step you can take to protect yourself is to avoid websites that are typically used for scamming.

Many different types of websites tend to be favorites for scammers.

Any website that offers you something for free in exchange for taking a survey that includes personal information should be avoided. Sites that offer adult content and sites that offer video games that you can play are also favorites of the scammer.

Both are addictive type sites that can catch you in a weak moment and steal your personal information. Another ploy that scammers use is dating and singles websites. The scammer will try to make a personal connection in order to build trust that leads to the theft of your personal information.

A little caution can go a long way in protecting oneself while on the internet. The reality is that you do not have to be ripped off. Many online scams these days are so well put together people don’t realise they were scammed even after the event!

We will take a look at some popular scams over the next few weeks.

Getting ripped off is not mandatory.
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