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A variety of devious and deceitful SCAMS exposed!
Criminals might assume you are stupid or gullible, and if they were proved right then crime would pay. However, you can stop their evil ways from getting the better of you! If you know about Scams and the various devious tricks that crooks get up to, then you are safe, and they are sorry!
Here on this page (and those connected), are informative examples of scams to beware of. This page is elaborated from the Rogues Gallery of suspicious emails.
Viruses: Computer viruses get into your computer if you let them in! The usual ploy by virus senders is to send you an e-mail which is designed to trick you into opening an attachment or clicking on a link. This problem is explained at the page of anti-virus measures, and there are some virus messages shown off at the Rogues Gallery page2 and at the Virus Museum. A few of these bogus messages pretending to come from known companies are shown here as special pages: Microsoft message , Worm Klez E Security , Yahoo Games Screensaver message , Mail Returned is sometimes a virus
Bank Hoaxes: Messages which claim to be from the bank are usually NOT from the bank at all. They are phishing attacks by crooks trying to steal your identity and so steal your money. Hoax bank messages usually take the form of enhanced security protection notices. Don't be fooled by them.
Advance Fee Fraud: The Advance Fee Fraud or Nigeria Scam, also the 419 Scam: A messages arrives supposedly from some dignitary or some official, offering you a large slice of a few million dollars if you get involved in moving some money. It's a scam, and it's been around so long now that you really should be aware of it. Examples of this have been stuffed and mounted on the Rogues Gallery page, and you can see how standardised the emails are. Despite a lot of work by various crime fighters including The 419 Coalition , www.419eater.com , Freeman Institute , http://allafrica.com/419_scam.html , Outblaze , Scamorama , www.makemoneyfastworld.com/content/view/29/38/, etc, the 419 or "Nigeria Scam" is Nigeria's 4th largest national earner. Note: The Nigeria Scam is not exclusive to Nigeria. It isn't often the South Korea Scam though!
To summarise how the 419 Advance Fee Fraud works, what happens is that you are expected to pay small sums up front to cover expenses so you can claim the big amount, which of course is nonexistent.
Boiler Room scams are cold-calling callcentres where people phone you and offer you "investments". However, they are not real. This is explained by HSBC at www.hsbc.com/1/2/online-security/bolier-room-scam
Date Scam: Obtaining money by deception is also a feature of Dating Scams, where someone on a dating site asks you for money for some purpose or other, and, if you've been fooled into falling in love with the scamster, then you might end up paying.
Lottery Winner Scam: You've been chosen by your email coming up lucky as emails are randomly selected to win a big prize... no, I wouldn't have thought so either! It's another Advance Fee Fraud. Rogues Gallery 2 has at least one example of a lottery scam message for you to marvel at. Surely people aren't fooled by those, are they?!
Cheque Scam: It looks like an honest order, and the deal seems like you can't lose, and you get paid by cheque, which clears, so what's the problem? The Cheque Scam catches people out because of the assumption that a cheque that's cleared is safe. It isn't. It was a stolen cheque, and then there is trouble.
Triangulation Scam: This takes a bit more thinking about, as you buy something secondhand and it arrives, but then later something goes wrong. This requires a more detailed explanation. See the Triangulation Scam and avoid being caught out.
ATM / hole in the wall cash machine: These are not always what they seem, and can have been meddled with. More about this explained as ATM Scam
Scary Messages: or panicmail, the idea being that your guard will drop if you are frightened by the fake urgency in the message. See Terrakt in Australia , and AOL warning. Also, you may receive a fake eBay message accusing you of fraud, or you may be accused of sending spam. eg. firstname.lastname@example.org message. Also messages alleging you have made a video and put it online and you'll be in trouble. That, and various other scary things are Panicmail
Spam Scam: Spam may be a nuisance, but did you know, most of the stuff being sold in spam is fake, a scam, or otherwise not what it's claimed to be? For example mortgage spam may not get you a loan at all, and may be just to get your personal details. Also, various sexual dysfunction remedies are fake if they are sold in spam, and the problem of fake drugs is an even bigger danger.
Confidence Tricks: These include the Chain Letter. It's usually an incoming message that's long, but looks friendly and tries to get you emotionally involved in some long story, and then at the end you are threatened with ill luck if you fail to comply with the demand that you forward it on! Don't! Never forward-on any message containing a threat or insult or emotional blackmail, even if it pretends to be on the side of good and makes out you are bad for not sending it on. This type of thing is known as a chain letter. There's a lot more to this, and it's important you are forewarned! See the Chain Letters page
Pyramid Schemes: Pyramid Schemes are a type of GET RICH QUICK schemes, and although the notions expressed in the hyped-up sales material seem to make sense, there is a fundamental flaw in the mathematics which is covered up by a confidence trick. Some people will get rich by Pyramid Schemes, the people who start them, usually. Most people, however, will Lose! Beware! Don't get caught out. If it's MLM (multi level marketing) but there's no genuine product, then it's most likely to be a Pyramid Scheme!
Get a University Degree: Even if you haven't achieved University level of academic education, you must surely have enough good sense to realise that you can't buy a degree from some scamster and expect to get a better job. It's a scam! See Qualifications on Qualifications
Job Offer: You're apparently being offered a job, unsolicited, online. The job consists of processing payments from around the world, as cheques, which you put through your bank account. Shame it's a money-laundering scam! See Job Spam Scam. Incidentally, the scamsters often fake-up the identities of reputable companies such as Waller Truck. Be especially wary of online offers of "Mystery Shopper" job opportunities. You could end up making a fool of yourself as well as losing money, if you fall for this.
Fake Products: Often they look like copies of reputable well-known brand names. Sometimes they are just cheap copies. Sometimes they are worse than that and are barely functional. One such line of counterfeit products is the fake USB memory sticks
Compensation for Nigeria Scam: If you've already been scammed, you might or might not give a second glance to messages such as the message from Kofi Annan or the message from EFCC Nigeria which look as if they are going to send you compensation for being scammed. Well they're not, because these messages are also scams! The scamsters have even been known to pretend to be Robert Mueller III of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Come on, use some commonsense, folks!
Parcel Delivery Service: If you receive a card or voicemail saying there's a parcel for you and you've got to phone an expensive premium rate number, it could be a Parcel Delivery Service scam
Uniform Traffic Ticket: If you receive an email that says you need to print out a zip file and send it to the Town Court as you are guilty of a violation because of driving at over 55 MPH in New York even though you probably have never been there, see Uniform Traffic Ticket and don't panic.
BBB Better Business Bureau complaint message: If you receive a BBB Complaint message, don't follow the links, as the whole thing is a scam. It's not the BBB's fault; they're being spoofed!
Hotel Credit Card Refund: If you receive an email for credit card refunds from a hotel, don't open the attachment. You've probably never stayed at the hotel, and the senders don't know your credit card number, but if you open the malware attachment, your computer might catch something nasty. See Antivirus Software and Care about opening e-mails.
Survey about Family Friendly Films: Not what it seems. It's not a person asking your opinion; it's a robot telling you what to think. I've heard it's backed by a far right wing christian organisation. Feature Films for Families
Phone Call saying your computer has a virus: Well, how do they know? They don't! They are scamsters telling you lies to try to get you to run some nefarious software which will install all manner of malware into your machine! Don't be fooled by it! See Phone Virus Scam for more about this.
The Kelly Richards Scam: She lives near you, and she makes a lot of money on the Internet. The problem is, it's not true. The news sites are fake and Kelly Richards is near you wherever you are in the world because of a localisation trick. If you are silly enough to give the scam sites your credit card, they just keep your money and you don't get anything. Oh, and the images of "Kelly Richards" are, I have heard, stolen from Getty Images, not that they need to care. Maybe Getty Images only threaten innocent people, as they are easy pickings.
Virtual Greeting Card: Although there ARE genuine eCards, you have to be careful as some of the incoming items are bogus eCards. Check with your friend to find out it they really sent it. Do this before opening it! Virtual Greeting Cards to Beware of. These are much more common at opportune times such as Xmas and Valentine's Day. Most notorious is the Hallmark Virus e-card. This is obviously not from Hallmark, but it's also a much over-stated threat, as per the Hallmark Warning (chain letter).
Vodafone Message: Message from Vodafone offering you £50 if you register with the Vodafone E-Topup system. Can that be real? Not if it's anything like This Vodafone E-Topup Hoax Message
Various: Here are a few others which are worth a mention. You don't have to read them all, but you can see the type of thing: Bank Security Update Scam , eBay Spam Hoax , O2 online billing , Amazon security verification of identity , Friendship Screen saver, spice girls' vocal concert , goldfish , free screensaver, Congratulations You Have Won The UK National Lottery , Microsoft letter hoax , free Klez E immunity tool , Hyundai Boss Scam , Yahoo Games Screensaver , Lottery Scam , Mail Returned virus messages , Bank Security server update hoax + PayPal account expires virus , Stranded Friend in Need , Your credit card has Won a Prize , and Facebook Spam
Also note: Report the drop-box of a scam e-mail! They don't like that. That is their weak point.
Final note: If you live in a civilised country, you may have become accustomed to the notion that it is the job of the police to crack crime and to catch criminals, and that there's not so much villainy going on in this modern age. Be careful in assuming such things, because although the police can catch crooks locally, and for serious crimes they can deal with serious crime at a national level, the problem is that a lot of "scam" crime is small-time crime at an international level, which makes it difficult for the police of any country to deal with it.
The scamster's worst enemy is your commonsense. If you are well informed and sensible enough to avoid being scammed, then the crooks are out of business.
Links to other scam-busting websites:
Rip and Scam