Whenever I hear the phrase “Scam Alert” I almost always immediately think of the internet. Sure, the web is rife with scams of all kinds. The truth is, according to the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website, https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/scam-alerts, today’s scammers utilize a combination of new technology and age-old tricks in their never ending quest to separate you from your money. I highly recommend that you visit the FTC website, bookmark it and visit it regularly to stay abreast of what is going on out there!
A scam alert is an alarm, basically. It’s a warning about a current and prevalent threat with a scam behind it. Ever receive a notice from your bank or a credit card company warning you of authentic looking emails going around that ask you for your account information so they can verify the fact that they believe someone has hacked your account? It’s called phishing and the word to the wise is: don’t! That notice is a scam alert.
One of the sad things about scammers is that they will prey on the helpless and needy and they depend on your good conscience to finance their way. The recent flooding in Louisiana left thousands homeless and in some cases jobless and broke. Yes, there is a scam alert on this very situation and this FTC website gives some excellent tips on checking for Charity Scams, including those on social media. Never assume. Just as an aside, beware of used cars that emerge from this flood event!
Looking over the long list of current scam alerts, it’s bewildering when you take in the fact that every aspect of our lives is targeted by these thieves. We must learn to spot scams and know how to avoid them. The FTC just published a brochure, both online and in print, of the top ten ways to avoid fraud. That brochure can be seen here. Visit the FTC Website, use the information in that brochure and protect yourself by knowing how to spot and deal with scammers. You can also order the report in any quantity in PDF format.
Other Agencies That Issue Scam Alerts
There are a myriad of agencies other than the FTC that also issue scam alerts. These alerts can be about anything from local bait-and-switch scams, fraudulent building contractors, false contact from the IRS, tax scams, you name it. Even Pokémon GO players have been phished out of money the scammers convinced them to pay in order to play the game!
Some agencies that issue scam alerts are:
- Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- State’s Attorney Generals
- United States Postal Service
- Local Police and Authorities
Scamguard’s Top Three Scams
According to scamguard.com the top three scams in the United States are:
1. Tech Support Scams. The scammers are usually in India and/or Pakistan and will often use U.S. VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) telephones. They usually call and describe some issue the victim’s personal computer is having. Then for a fee, usually a $100-$1000 credit card payment, they get the victim to give them remote access to their computer. No need to tell you the end result but it involves identity theft.
Never give anyone remote access to your computer. Take it into a shop. The risk for identity theft is high with this scam.
2. Fake/Counterfeit Merchandise Scams. This one usually happens when conducting online commerce with a retailer the victim knows nothing about. The retailer in this case is typically in China and has set up a generic online store carrying name-brand merchandise. The goal is the victim’s credit card number and although the risk for identity theft is high, the scammers typically want the information for making fraudulent purchases elsewhere. They will also sell the personal information they are able to glean from their enterprise. It can be weeks before the victim realizes what has happened.
Always verify who you are doing business with on the web.
3. Pets-For-Sale Scams. Abused pets, pets looking for their “forever home,” puppies, and kittens are listed on bogus websites. Prices are often too good to be true. Sometimes they are even free. The victim has to pay for insurance, shipping, etc., but the purchase and fees typically have to be paid in some form of cash-like payment, like Moneygram, Western Union, cash cards or wire transfers to foreign bank accounts.
Scamguard lists the risk of identity theft as high.
Be diligent in your awareness of spam and how to avoid and/or how to deal with it. Most likely you are reading this because you either already have an online business or you are contemplating starting one. This information is for you.
Make keeping up with the latest scams a part of your business plan. Visit the FTC website frequently and pay attention to what is going on out there in the online world. The FTC and others who publish these scam alerts are letting the online business world know that there’s criminal activity out there. It’s free. Take it. Use it. Be diligent!
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Navigation of this website is pretty easy. From the menu simply go from left to right beginning with START A HOME BUSINESS. Each page will have a link to the next logical page in the sequence. You are currently on the page SCAM ALERTS.
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