Here’s a reminder to everyone looking for a job or for a side hustle in addition to their current job: as tempting as it may sound, receiving a check and depositing it is not a legitimate way to make money. You might have heard this before, but if no one fell for this scam, it would die out. [More]
Reader SkokieGuy’s manufacturing company keeps getting these emails asking to buy parts and equipment they don’t even make. The diction is weird and they seem to be using a template. “I know this is a scam,” writes SkokieGuy.”But I can’t figure out why.”
Reader Brian got a surprise $1,530 check in the mail and an invitation to become a secret shopper. The letter told him that he had been selected to become a “mystery shopper” and report on how local stores were doing. He would buy selected items from them and report on the process, and get to keep what he bought. Sounds great, who couldn’t use some extra cash, right? It all sounds so enticing because, as Brian was able to detect, it was the bait to lure him into an advance fee fraud scam.
It’s called the “black money scam.” The scammer shows the victim a briefcase full of black bills. The victim is told the money has been dyed black so that it could escape the notice of customs. But to turn the money back into usable cash, you need to use an extremely expensive solution, which the scammer is happy to sell for $100,000.
Reader Steve in Florida owns a small restaurant. He recently received three odd phone calls from prospective customers–deaf people using a relay service–wanting to place a catering order for a party of about 100 people using a credit card. Oh, and even though the party is three weeks out, could his business send $956 to the party planner who will be picking up the food, even though the party is a few weeks out? Steve was right to be suspicious, and wants to warn other small business owners.
The FTC has got 10 ways to protect yourself from international scam rings. The most important one has go to be to never deposit a check in your account with the agreement that you’re going to wire a portion of it elsewhere.
Something about this spammed fraud attempt that landed in our inbox amused me. Maybe it was the chicken burgers for mother.
This gal was looking to make ends meet by doing finding a part-time work-at-home gig, and ended up getting accused of committing felony fraud.
One good way to get ripped off in a transaction is to agree to wire the other person money. Whether it’s through your bank, money order, or Western Union, wiring money has zero protections against loss. Which is why con artists love it dearly.
I bet if some guy approaches you on the street right as you’re about to walk into your bank or credit union and asks you to cash a check for him, you’d say no. That’s a good idea. Apparently at least two people in Madison, Wisconsin thought they were doing a good deed and helped the man out. It turns out that the checks were drawn on a closed bank account in Atlantic City, NJ.
The UK website Scam Detectives has published a two-part interview with a self-described former Nigerian 419 scammer. Take all of this a healthy dose of skepticism–the author admits he has no way of verifying if anything the guy says is true. Oh, and the reason I call it a short interview is because halfway through the second call, the author tells the scammer he doesn’t like him and wants to hang up. Before that happens, though, you get to read about foot soldiers, something called a wash wash, and the response rate on scam email blasts.
Nigeria is mad at Sony for its latest ads that suggesting a lot of scams come from the country. Heaven forfend!
Here’s another reason to have a sit-down with your elderly relatives and make them promise that if they ever, ever find out they’ve won some money in a lottery they didn’t enter, they should tell family members immediately.
Here’s one more reason to avoid mystery shopping scams: you could be the one who ends up in jail. A woman in Minnesota answered a “mystery shopper” email (that she found in her spam folder, sigh) and signed up. It turned out to be the old check fraud scam—they sent her a $2700 check and told her to deposit it and keep $300 a payment, then use the rest to make mystery shopper purchases. She took the check to her bank, and her bank called the police.
Are you a student looking for a summer or long-term tutoring gig? Be sure to stay away from the foreign tutoring scam, especially if you’re looking for work on Craigslist.
The Wall Street Journal ran an article yesterday about how to identify and protect loved ones from con artists. One of the problems with being an easy mark—say, because of reduced mental capacity or increasing isolation—is that you get put on a list and passed around to other scammers, says Karen Blumenthal, the author of the piece and a relative of one of these perpetually easy marks.