California: Scams and frauds come in many forms

De Master Yoda

An interesting article from
Saturday, April 28, 2007

Headline News
Scams and frauds come in many forms

CAROL A. CLARK Monitor Senior Reporter

Counterfeit Cashier's Check: You sell an item through an auction site and then receive a cashier's check for more than the amount agreed upon and are asked to wire the extra money back to the sender. The problem is the cashier's check is fake, yet so good your local bank could not even tell, and now that the check did not clear you are responsible to pay back your bank the full amount of the check;

u "Phishing" Scams: If you receive an e-mail from your bank or credit card asking you to "confirm" your account number by clicking on a website link, delete it; do not respond. The fraudulent e-mails look authentic and the website it links you to may even appear like the company's "official" site. But if you enter the information requested, you have just given the keys to your identity to an identity thief. Banks and credit cards will never contact you through e-mail asking you to confirm this type of information;

u "Pharming" Scams: This is similar to a phishing scam, but more dangerous. A pharming scam doesn't require that you respond to an e-mail. This scam involves an electronic "redirecting" of users from a legitimate website to a fraudulent website. When you're online at a secure website, check to make sure the address in your web browser begins with "HTTPS," rather than just "HTTP." Also, click on the padlock icon on your browser to check the website's Security Certificate belongs to the company whose website you're visiting;

u Nigerian Scams: These scams are typically rooted in Nigeria and often claim to be coming from Nigerian officials; they often start off by asking for help in moving a large amount of money from Nigeria to a bank in the United States in exchange for a large portion of the money. If you respond, you might be asked to send money to help pay a transfer fee or some other sort of fee;

u Lottery Scam: You receive a notice that you have won a lottery for which you did not purchase a ticket. When you call to collect you might be asked to send a copy of your passport or the person on the other end might request your bank account number to transfer you the money; and

u Pyramid Schemes: You are invited to a club or group where in order to join you must give money to someone in the club and then you recruit others to join. In return you are to be rewarded by others giving to you. It is mathematically impossible for everyone to come out ahead in this scheme and pyramid schemes are illegal in New Mexico, so no matter how good they sound - do not participate.