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Ed, Edd n Eddy: Scam of the Century

Ed, Edd n Eddy: Scam of the Century (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: KOLKATA WEST INTERNATIONAL CITY SCAM

English: KOLKATA WEST INTERNATIONAL CITY SCAM (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part One: Common Scams that Oldie Newbies should look out for.

If I had just a dollar for each time I was sent a scam e-mail, I would no longer need to work.  There are many scams around online that compromise internet security.  Many of them are just new versions of old scams that have been used for many years, even before my great great grandfather was born.  They usually prey upon your greed and desire to get something for nothing.  It is best to know about these scams to protect yourself.  Never think that you are “above being conned.”  Con artists say that the easiest person in the world to con is those who think they cannot be conned.

Many people, especially my wife, are afraid of going online because of “hackers.”  Every once in a while, we hear about a computer hacker who managed to get into a bank or other secure online environment.  These instances are rare.  Most people who become internet victims fall prey to one of three common scams:

Ÿ  A con game

Ÿ  Phishing

Ÿ  Pharming

Today let’s look at

A  CON  GAME.

A con game is short for confidence game.  This sort of activity has been around since the beginning of time, but the internet gives it new legs.  If you are reading this and are concerned about internet security, you have most likely heard about the Nigerian Bank scam.  This is probably the biggest con game going online and it has many variations.  The reason that about one billion dollars per year is lost due to the Nigerian Bank Scam is because people continue to fall for it, despite repeated warnings, and that the internet security laws in Nigeria are non-existent.

The way this scam works is as follows:  You get an email from someone in Nigeria who has a great deal of money but cannot leave the country.  They promise to send you a check for $50,000 (this amount changes) if you will just send them $1,000 (this amount changes, too) so that they can get out of the country.  The check is drawn on a US bank and they cannot cash it in Nigeria.  They ask for your help so that they can get out of Nigeria and say that they will be willing to then split the money with you when they get to the United States.

In “good faith” they send you the check first and ask for you to send them money so that they can leave Nigeria.  You get the check, deposit it into your account and send them the check so they can get out of that country.  Or, perhaps, you are a dishonest person and keep the check and do not send them the money.  It doesn’t matter because the check is a phony.  It looks like a real check, is often a money order or cashier’s check, and is drawn off of a bank in the United States.

By the time you realize that the check is a phony (after it bounces and is returned to your bank – often bouncing all of your checks) you are out $1,000.  Or $10,000.  Or even more.  Some people have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars in this scam.

There are many variations to this scam.  They usually involve you cashing a check for someone and giving them part of the money.  In some cases, the Nigerian Bank scam will ask for half of the money to be sent to Nigeria.

Because it is so well known, this scam has taken a twist and is often the UK Lottery Scam.  You won the UK Lottery, they are sending you a check but you need to send back half for taxes.

In order for you to practice internet security online, do not fall for any request that asks for money.  No matter how good the offer seems to be, no matter how it looks as though you cannot lose, you will end up being parted with your money.

Other confidence games that make it tough on those newbies on the internet prey on lonely people, especially oldies.  Lonely hearts scams are also very old but have gained a new life online.  Women or men will write to you, usually through a dating site, and fall madly in love with you.  But there will be one problem – they cannot leave their country.  They ask for plane fare or money that they owe someone so they can be with you.  This game is often called the “Russian Bride Scam” as it is often used by Russian women on American men.

My old friend who had his debit card compromised at the discount store almost fell prey to this.  He was about to send $1,000 to a woman in Russia who he had been flirting with online.  Because he was lonely and looking for a girlfriend.  The worst thing about these confidence games is that they prey upon those who are lonely.   My friend is a college educated person with a successful business.  You would think that someone of his intelligence would not fall for such a trick.  But he almost did.  Remember – the easiest person to con is someone who thinks they are above being conned.

Even though you may have a lot of wisdom because of your age,

remember that older people are trusting, more emotional, and easy to be scammed.

So what I’m talking about is,

Never Send Money To Anyone Online. Period.

Good Luck.

Fred Horstman

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